I got a Fair Housing Act (FHA) case dismissed last week and it raised a question that I thought merited a blog post. Specifically, what is the time limit to bring a claim under the FHA? The legal term involved is statute of limitation. A statute of limitations is a specific time period for filing an action after a potential plaintiff believes he or she has been injured. To timely bring an administrative case with HUD (and many state agencies), a complaint must be filed within one year. The statute of limitations for bringing fair housing complaints in federal (and most state) courts is not later than two years after the occurrence or the termination of an alleged discriminatory housing practice. However, if an administrative case is filed with HUD, the statute of limitations is tolled during the period of time in which HUD is evaluating the complaint. In English, what that means is that the time HUD has the case does not count when calculating if the two year statute of limitations expired.
If a person has been subject to ongoing discrimination (i.e. continuous discrimination or a number of incidents of discrimination that are factually related), then the two year time period begins to run at the time of the last incident or when the continuous discrimination ended.
To be sure, there can also be different time deadlines contained in various state and local laws. Management should absolutely check with a lawyer like me to ensure a case is timely filed. Oh, about my case from last week? I got it dismissed because it was filed out of time.
Just A Thought.