Discrimination & Other Legal Problems
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Once you have learned about your legal rights and responsibilities, your self-advocacy may be successful. However, if you need further advice or assistance, you may want to contact one or more of the following agencies to request help.
You can also request help from Disability Rights Florida by contacting us at 1-800-342-0823 or visiting the Contact section of our website and filling out a contact/intake form.
- U.S. Housing and Urban Development
- Florida Condominium Ombudsman
- Homeowners Associations
- Legal Aid
- Centers for Independent Living
- Florida Commission on Human Relations
U.S. Housing and Urban Development
HUD's mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination.
Federal law prohibits housing discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, or disability. If you have been trying to buy or rent a home or apartment and you believe your rights have been violated, you can file a fair housing complaint with HUD.
How to File a Fair Housing Complaint with HUD
If you think your rights have been violated, the Housing Discrimination Complaint Form is available for you to download, complete and return, or complete online and submit, or you may write HUD a letter, or telephone the HUD Office nearest you. You have one year after an alleged violation to file a complaint with HUD, but you should file it as soon as possible.
What to Tell HUD
- Your name and address,
- The name and address of the person your complaint is against (the respondent),
- The address or other identification of the housing involved,
- A short description of the alleged violation (the event that caused you to believe your rights were violated), and
- The date(s) of the alleged violation.
Where to Write or Call
Send the Housing Discrimination Complaint Form or a letter to
Atlanta Regional Office of FHEO
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Five Points Plaza
40 Marietta Street, 16th Floor
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-2806
TTY (404) 730-2654
If You are an Individual with a Disability
HUD also provides:
- A toll-free TTY phone for the hearing impaired: (800) 927-9275.
- Tapes and Braille materials, and
- Assistance in reading and completing forms.
What Happens when You File a Complaint?
HUD will notify you when it receives your complaint. Normally, HUD also will:
- Notify the alleged violator of your complaint and permit that person to submit an answer,
- Investigate your complaint and determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe the Fair Housing Act has been violated,
- Notify you if it cannot complete an investigation within 100 days of receiving your complaint.
For more information on HUD, please visit the HUD website.
Florida Condominium Ombudsman
The Florida Office of the Condominium Ombudsman is a resource for condominium unit owners, board members, associations and others. Its duties include:
- Make reports and recommendations.
- Be a liaison between the government, unit owners, boards of directors, board members, community association managers, and other affected parties.
- Develop policies and procedures to assist unit owners, boards of directors, board members, community association managers, and other affected parties to understand their rights and responsibilities.
- Coordinate and disseminate educational material.
- Monitor and review procedures and disputes concerning condominium elections or meetings.
- Recommend changes in rules and procedures for how complaints are filed, investigated, and resolved.
- Provide resources to assist members of boards of directors and officers of associations carry out their powers and duties.
- Encourage and facilitate voluntary meetings with and between unit owners, boards of directors, board members, community association managers, and other affected parties to assist in resolving a dispute within a community association before a person submits a dispute for a formal or administrative remedy.
- Be a neutral resource for both the rights and responsibilities of unit owners, associations, and board members.
For more information and to file a complaint, visit the Office of the Condominium Ombudsman website.
If you live where there is a homeowners association, that organization may be able to assist with some housing related problems.
If you feel your association is failing to address your concerns or would like to learn more about the duties of a homeowners association, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations maintains information to assist homeowners, association board members and managers in understanding and increasing awareness of the operation of homeowners' associations.
To file a complaint, visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations website.
To read more about the law governing homeowners associations, follow this link to the Florida statutes, chapter 720 Homeowners Associations.
If you have a civil legal problem but cannot afford to hire a private lawyer, your local legal services-legal aid organization may be able to assist you.
These organizations provide free or low cost legal services.
For more information and to locate your local legal services - legal aid office, visit FloridaLawHelp.org.
Centers for Independent Living
Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are community-based, cross-disability, non-residential, private, nonprofit, federally funded agencies.
CILs work to create opportunities for individuals with disabilities to take charge of their lives and guide their own destinies.
For more information and to locate the CIL serving you, please visit FloridaCILs.org.
Florida Commission on Human Relations
The Florida Commission on Human Relations also investigates housing discrimination complaints.
You may contact them at (800) 342-8170 or visit their Housing website.