Tenants can file complaints of housing discrimination against landlords online at HUD.gov using the Housing Discrimination Complaint program, reports the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They can file complaints against federal housing landlords using the Multifamily Housing Complaint Line listed on the HUD.gov website. Tenants can make local complaints to Fair Housing Councils, Better Business Bureaus, state attorney generals, consumer protection agencies and small claims courts, points out SFGate.
According to federal law, landlords cannot discriminate against tenants due to their race, national origin, sex, religion or disability, explains the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. When HUD receives a complaint, a fair housing specialist reviews the case and contacts the person who complains for further information. If the HUD specialist determines that the landlord may be guilty of discrimination, the tenant signs a formal complaint, and HUD initiates a full investigation, adds About.com. HUD attempts a reconciliation between tenant and landlord, but if the investigation determines legal violations, HUD charges the landlord in court, and a judge imposes penalties.
Before making formal complaints against landlords, tenants should carefully read the terms of their leases, advises SFGate. They should pay their rent on time and conduct themselves as good tenants. Before complaining to civil or government authorities, tenants should write down their complaints and send them by certified mail to their landlords. Tenants only need to seek outside help when landlords fail to respond favorably.