Over the past couple of weeks, two Fair Housing Defense blog readers asked similar questions about the processing of administrative fair housing complaints. I thought it best to answer the questions together.

Administrative housing discrimination cases can be filed with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) or with various state, city, or county anti-discrimination agencies. Pursuant to the Fair Housing Act (FHA), complaints are to be investigated within 100 days of filing. Indeed, for complaints that get referred pursuant to a state, city or county agency, their contract with HUD similarly requires the complaint to be processed within 100 days.

But, what happens if the 100 day clock is missed? Unfortunately, nothing. The investigating agency will typically send out what is known as a “100 day letter” – a form containing a number of reasons as to why the investigation is not yet complete and, sometimes, including a date as to when the determination is expected to be made.  The investigator will check a box or two as to why the complaint needs more time.  Typical responses are “because interviews still need to take place” or “the investigation to date reflects a need for more investigation.”  There are about ten choices for the investigator to choose from.

I write “unfortunately” because even though the FHA requires discrimination complaints to be investigated with the 100 day time frame, the law also provides the 100 day deadline is to be followed “unless it is impractical to do so.” And if the investigating agency is not ready to make a determination, the parties will receive the 100 day letter. Indeed, I have a drawer full of them.

Hope that helps.

Just A Thought.