If you have a request for your landlord or housing agency, here’s the Golden Rule:
Always make your request in writing and always ask for a decision in writing. Never let them turn you down verbally and whatever you do never take no for an answer over the phone.
If the written decision is “no” or if they refuse to give you a written decision, below you will find a long list of places you can contact for help.
Some of our readers report success by calling everywhere on this list. If the first few places you call aren’t helpful, don’t give up hope. Just keep calling!
SOLVING HOUSING ISSUES
Most of our readers report that the easiest and fastest way to resolve housing problems was through disability accommodation requests. Learn how to do this: Epic Master List of Disability Accommodation Letters
If you’ve already submitted a request and it got denied. don’t worry. Most readers were able to fix this problem on their own: If Your Disability Accommodation is Denied
GENERAL HOUSING ISSUES
HUD Regional Field Office
Contact to ask questions or report problems about your local HUD office.
Free legal help for people who are low-income
More legal aid programs
More legal aid
Tenants Rights Organizations
Find tenants rights programs in your state
HUD Office of Inspector General
For problems with HUD buildings and HUD Agencies: Report waste, abuse, substantial dangers, employee misconduct, or serious mismanagement.
Housing Counseling Agencies
Provide advice on housing issues
HUD Housing complaint line
Phone line to report bad landlords. Not for private landlords. Only for HUD and HUD-assisted properties.
IF SOMEONE IN HOUSEHOLD IS DISABLED
Disability Rights Agencies
Legal help with disability issues
Online Fair Housing Complaint Form
Online form for reporting disability discrimination, fair housing complaints and denials of reasonable accommodation requests.
Fair Housing Local Agencies
Assists with disability discrimination and other fair housing issues.
Fair Housing Regional Offices
Enforces disability discrimination, other kinds of discrimination, and fair housing laws
State Civil Rights Offices
Assists with civil rights violations, fair housing, disability protections
Fair Housing Headquarters
A million different phone numbers that go directly to the fair housing staff at the national office.
Local Groups That Help with Evictions
Directory of local groups that provide assistance.
Unsafe, Unfit, or Unhealthy Housing
Here’s where you can report building code violations and unsafe housing:
- Find Your Local Health Department
- How to report a housing code violation
- How to report a landlord to the Health Department
Try Googling the name of your town, city, or county and the word “code enforcement.” Also, look up your local Health Department.
Here’s Liam’s story of filing a complaint. Plus tips you can use to file a complaint:
LOW INCOME BUILDINGS
- Many low income buildings are owned and run by larger corporations. If you are having a problem with the property manager, or you think you have been told incorrect information, you can ask for the contact information for their corporate office or regional office.
- Request the name and number of the person at the corporate office who handles this property. This person may know more of the rules and may be able to help you or answer questions.
- If you’re having problems with disability accommodations, ask for the name and number of the person who handles compliance with the Fair Housing Act.
- You can also request a copy of the buildings policies or administrative plans, or it may be available for you to read at the property manager’s office.
Reach Out For Help
Social Workers – Information on where to find a Social Worker who may be able to assist you with housing and other issues
Area Agency on Aging – Call them even if you are young! They also serve younger people with disabilities.
Independent Living Centers – Community centers run by people with disabilities. May be able to provide guidance or connect you with local help and resources.
Wheelchair Accessible / Disability Accessible Spaces
Access Board – File a complaint about building accessibility
US Department of Justice ADA Complaint – Mail and fax for filing an Americans Disability Act complaint
People and places who may be able to help you get your housing issues noticed. They are not going to take on solving your problem, but you can contact them ask if they can make ONE PHONE CALL for you. Sometimes one phone call from someone higher up can magically change everything!
Try Googling the name of your city, town, county or state and the words:
- Attorney general office
- Consumer protection agencies
- Elected officials
- TV and newspaper reporters
- City commissioner
- Code enforcement officer
- “Human rights complaint” or “human rights commission” or “human rights office”
Staff people at your congressperson’s office can also make a phone call for you, and get a great response! They can assist with problems with government agencies (particularly if an agency has broken a rule or made a mistake)
Denials and Terminations
- If your housing application has been denied or your assistance has been terminated, you have the right to appeal.
- The denial letter should give you information on how to appeal.
- If this information is not included, send a certified letter or email stating you are requesting an appeal on this decision and asking how you can appeal.
- Also contact your local legal aide program to request assistance.
Disability Accommodations Can Help Solve Problems
Many of our readers successfully resolved their disability-realted housing problems by making a reasonable accommodation requests. Popular requests:
- Deadline Extensions
- Meetings By Phone or Email
- Additional Bedrooms
- Assistance animals
- Transferring Apartments / Buildings
- Getting Back on Waiting List
- Stopping Evictions
- Getting Voucher Back
- Longer Search Time
Strategies and next steps. If Your Disability Accommodation is Denied
Sometimes people who work at agencies mean well but don’t know all the rules. If someone is saying “no” to you, you can always request to speak to a supervisor who may know more of the rules or you can find and print out a copy of the policy yourself to show them. Here’s a few magic sentences that can turn a no into a yes. Magic! 24 Magic Sentences That Can Change a “No” to a “Yes”
If you want more details on how your rent was calculated, try requesting a copy of your Family Report. Some Housing Authorities will automatically send this to you each year.
If your rent feels too high, the first step is to figure out the reason why. If you can figure out the problem, you might be able to figure out the solution:
You can sue your landlord in federal or small claims court. This guide is for California but also includes national laws: Suing Your Landlord in Small Claims Court
The first step in a court case is often filing a complaint. Liam started with a complaint and was able to resolve his issue through mediation, so he never needed the lawsuit: Liam’s Amazing Housing Discrimination Journey
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