Click here for Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) fair housing posters:
What is Fair Housing?
Fair housing is a condition in which individuals of similar income levels in the same housing market have a similar range of choices available to them regardless of race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, sex, disability, marital status, familial status, source of income, sexual orientation or any other arbitrary factor.
Who is protected?
Federal and state fair housing laws prohibit discrimination in the sale, rental, lease, or negotiation for real property based on protected status. Under federal law protected status includes race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status and disability. California fair housing laws reflect the federal laws and add marital status, ancestry, source of income, sexual orientation, and any arbitrary discrimination as the protected categories under the laws.
What do I do if I think I have a fair housing problem?
The City's Fair Housing Information Pamphlet provides information on housing discrimination, predatory lending, and landlord/tenant rights. The pamphlet explains the laws protecting tenant and homebuyer rights, how to recognize when these rights are being violated; and where to get help.
The City maintains a formal contract with the California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) to help low income residents with fair housing complaints. As the primary fair housing assistance provider in the Santa Cruz area, CRLA provides a variety of consultation services through its hotline service and consultations.
The Santa Cruz County Office of the District Attorney, Consumer and Environmental Affairs Division provides provides limited landlord-tenant self help information on its website. Information is provided on tenant rights, security deposits, and evictions.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is the state agency responsible for protecting residents of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, and from the perpetration of acts of hate violence. The DFEH investigates only discrimination complaints. If you feel you have been or are being discriminated against call the DFEH at 1-800-884-1684.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the federal agency responsible for administering the federal Fair Housing Act. To file a complaint, contact the regional HUD Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Office in San Francisco at 1-800 347-3739 or you may call HUD’s Housing Discrimination Hotline at 1-800-669-9777. You can also download the discrimination complaint form and instructions from the following: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=DOC_12150.pdf.
In February 2013 HUD released a Fair Housing app for the iPhone and iPad. The app uses the latest technology to provide the public with a quick and easy way to learn about their housing rights and to file housing discrimination complaints, and informs the housing industry about its responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
Information concerning the app can be accessed on the internet at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2013/HUDNo.13-031. The app can be downloaded for free from the App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/housing-discrimination-complaint/id570755695?mt=8.
The following is a list of other fair housing legal assistance available to Santa Cruz residents:
• California Rural Legal Aid Society (low income only) 458-1086
• Senior Citizens Legal Services (55 years of age and above) 426-8824
• Santa Cruz Lawyer's Referral Service ($40 for ½ hour legal consultation) 425-4755
• Small Claims Advisory by Monterey College of Law (free service) 373-1959
Where can I find information about the City of Santa Cruz Fair Housing policies or planning documents?
• Anti-Discrimination Ordinance: Under Section 9.83.040 of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code, the City prohibits discrimination in housing and real estate transactions.
• Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice: Every five years the City assesses the status of fair housing, identifies any potential problems, and develops a course of action to eliminate any fair housing issues in the City. The AI provides an overview of the laws, regulations, conditions or other possible obstacles that may affect access to housing in Santa Cruz.
• Other Plans: The City’s General Plan Housing Element, Redevelopment Implementation Plan, and Consolidated Plan provide a range of policies affecting fair housing. In addition the County-wide Homeless Action Partnership (HAP) 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness (http://www.sccoplanning.com/pdf/housing/tenyearplan.pdf) covers countywide efforts to address homelessness and the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz covers the issues of public housing, Section 8 rental assistance, and other similar types of programs for very low income residents.
Affirmative Marketing of HUD Assisted Housing:
The City receives an annual grant from HUD to facilitate in the development and preservation of affordable housing under the Home Investment Partnership Program (HOME). Although the City does not directly own or manage any HOME-funded affordable housing projects, the City does, however, fund such projects and requires recipients of HOME funds to comply with all HOME regulations, including the affirmative marketing requirements as defined in Title 24 Part 92.351 (Subpart H) of the Federal Code of Regulations.
The Affirmative Marketing Policies and Procedures the City follows are included in the HOME Regulatory Agreements with the developers of HOME assisted units.