4 things to consider before a housing discrimination complaint

Every United States resident has protection from Housing-related discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. Individuals who have suffered from discrimination related to their renting of a home can pursue a housing discrimination complaint via the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

That being said, there is some important groundwork that the victims of housing discrimination should consider before filing a claim:

Are you within the time limitations? Renters who have been discriminated against will have as many as two years to file a federal claim relating to Fair Housing Act violations. If the claim is to be filed through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the limitation is one year from the date of the discriminating event.

Why are you filing a claim? Make sure that you have a concrete reason that includes evidence of discrimination that resulted in financial loss and/or emotional suffering to back up your claim.

Are you sure it was discrimination? Many plaintiffs have valid reasons to file a claim -- like a landlord who failed to provide heat in the winter -- yet they don't have a discrimination case; they just have a fair housing complaint. Make sure you have evidence to show why it was discrimination specifically.

Collect your evidence: Start gathering the evidence to support your case immediately. Print emails, gather letters and make a list of people who can offer testimony to back up your claims.

Get emotionally prepared: Filing a claim takes a long time, and it could be more than a year before your case is settled. Therefore, you'll want to make sure you're ready for the long process of litigation. Another thing to remember is that even if it seems like you have a strong case, during litigation other evidence could come forward. There are no guarantees when pursuing even what looks to be the best lawsuit.

By learning more about HUD-related discrimination complaints, you can better evaluate whether the pursuit of such a claim is right for you and your family.

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