Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
5/14/2021

Article 1. Complaints

18VAC135-50-300. Submission of information to file a complaint.

Article 1
Complaints

A. The administrator or his designee will receive complaint information concerning alleged discriminatory housing practices from any person. Where the information constitutes a complaint within the meaning of the fair housing law and these regulations and is furnished by an aggrieved person, a complaint will be considered filed in accordance with 18VAC135-50-350. Where additional information is required for the purpose of perfecting a complaint under the law, the administrator or his designee will advise what additional information is needed and will provide appropriate assistance in the filing of the complaint.

B. Complaint information may also be made available to any appropriate federal, state or local agency having an interest in the matter. In making available such information, steps will be taken to protect the confidentiality of any informant or complainant where desired by the informant or complainant.

C. The administrator or his designee may counsel with an aggrieved party about the facts and circumstances which constitute the alleged discriminatory housing practices. If the facts and circumstances do not constitute discriminatory housing practices, the administrator or his designee shall so advise the aggrieved party. If the facts and circumstances constitute alleged discriminatory housing practices, the administrator or his designee shall assist the aggrieved party in perfecting a complaint.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.20 C and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 3.1, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

18VAC135-50-310. Who may file a complaint.

Any aggrieved person or the administrator on behalf of the board may file a complaint no later than one year after an alleged discriminatory housing practice has occurred or terminated. The complaint may be filed with the assistance of an authorized representative of an aggrieved person, including any organization acting on behalf of an aggrieved person.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-96.8 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 3.2, eff. December 1, 1991.

18VAC135-50-320. Persons against whom complaints may be filed.

A. A complaint may be filed against any person alleged to be engaged, to have engaged, or to be about to engage, in a discriminatory housing practice.

B. A complaint may also be filed against any person who directs or controls, or has the right to direct or control, the conduct of another person with respect to any aspect of the sale, rental, advertising, or financing of dwellings, or the provision of brokerage services relating to the sale or rental of dwellings if that other person, acting within the scope of his authority as employee or agent of the directing or controlling person, is engaged, has engaged, or is about to engage, in a discriminatory housing practice.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-96.8 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 3.3, eff. December 1, 1991.

18VAC135-50-330. Filing a complaint.

Aggrieved persons may provide information to be contained in a complaint by telephone to fair housing office staff. Staff in the fair housing office will reduce information provided by telephone to writing on the prescribed complaint form and send the form to the aggrieved person to be signed and affirmed in accordance with 18VAC135-50-340 A.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.20 C and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 3.4, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003.

18VAC135-50-340. Form and content of a complaint.

A. Each complaint must be in writing and must be signed and affirmed by the aggrieved person filing the complaint or if the complaint is filed by the administrator on behalf of the board, it must be signed and affirmed by the administrator. The signature and affirmation may be made at any time during the investigation. The affirmation shall state "I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct."

B. The administrator may require complaints to be made on prescribed forms. The complaint forms will be available through the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. Notwithstanding any requirement for use of a prescribed form, the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation will accept any written statement which substantially sets forth the allegations of a discriminatory housing practice under the fair housing law (including any such statement filed with a substantially equivalent local agency) as a fair housing law complaint. Personnel in the fair housing office will provide appropriate assistance in filling out forms and filing a complaint.

C. Each complaint must contain substantially the following information:

1. The name and address of the aggrieved person.

2. The name and address of the respondent.

3. A description and address of the dwelling which is involved, if appropriate.

4. A concise statement of the facts, including pertinent dates, constituting the alleged discriminatory housing practice.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-96.8 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 3.5, eff. December 1, 1991.

18VAC135-50-350. Date of filing of a complaint.

A. Except as provided in subsection B of this section, a complaint is filed when it is received by the board or dual filed with the federal government in a form that reasonably meets the standards of 18VAC135-50-340.

B. The administrator may determine that a complaint is filed for the purposes of the one-year period for filing of complaints upon submission of written information identifying the parties and describing generally the alleged discriminatory housing practice. Written information includes information provided by telephone and reduced to writing by Fair Housing Office staff. A filed complaint can be signed at any time during the investigation.

C. Where a complaint alleges a discriminatory housing practice that is continuing, as manifested in a number of incidents of such conduct, the complaint will be timely if filed within one year of the last alleged occurrence of that practice.

Statutory Authority

§§ 36-96.8 and 54.1-2105 of the Code of Virginia; 42 USC § 3613.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 3.6, eff. December 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 24, eff. September 10, 2003; Volume 30, Issue 11, eff. March 1, 2014.

18VAC135-50-360. Amendment of complaint.

Complaints may be reasonably and fairly amended at any time. Such amendments may include, but are not limited to: (i) amendments to cure technical defects or omissions, including failure to sign or affirm a complaint, (ii) to clarify or amplify the allegations in a complaint, or (iii) to join additional or substitute respondents. Except for the purposes of notifying respondents, under 18VAC135-50-380, amended complaints will be considered as having been made as of the original filing date.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-96.8 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 3.7, eff. December 1, 1991.

18VAC135-50-370. Service of notice on aggrieved person.

Upon the filing of a complaint, the administrator or his designee will notify, by certified mail or personal service, each aggrieved person on whose behalf the complaint was filed. The notice will:

1. Acknowledge the filing of the complaint and state the date that the complaint was accepted for filing.

2. Include a copy of the complaint.

3. Advise the aggrieved person of the time limits applicable to complaint processing and of the procedural rights and obligations of the aggrieved person under the Virginia Fair Housing Law and these regulations.

4. Advise the aggrieved person of his right to commence a civil action under the fair housing law, in state circuit court, not later than two years after the occurrence or termination of the alleged discriminatory housing practice. The notice will state that the computation of this two-year period excludes any time during which an action arising from a breach of a conciliation agreement under the law is pending.

5. Advise the aggrieved person that retaliation against any person because he made a complaint or testified, assisted, or participated in an investigation or conciliation under these regulations is a discriminatory housing practice that is prohibited under the law and these regulations.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-96.8 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 3.8, eff. December 1, 1991.

18VAC135-50-380. Respondent to be notified of complaint.

A. Within 10 days of the filing of a complaint under 18VAC135-50-350 or the filing of an amended complaint under 18VAC135-50-360, the administrator or his designee will serve a notice on each respondent by certified mail or by personal service. A person who is not named as a respondent in a complaint, but who is identified in the course of the investigation under Part V of these regulations as a person who is alleged to be engaged, to have engaged, or to be about to engage in the discriminatory housing practice upon which the complaint is based may be joined as an additional or substitute respondent by service of a notice on the person under this section within 10 days of the identification.

B. 1. The notice will identify the alleged discriminatory housing practice upon which the complaint is based, and include a copy of the complaint and copies of any supporting documentation referenced in the complaint which are received with the complaint.

2. The notice will state the date that the complaint was accepted for filing.

3. The notice will advise the respondent of the time limits applicable to complaint processing under these regulations and of the procedural rights and obligations of the respondent under the law and these regulations, including the opportunity to submit an answer to the complaint within 10 days of the receipt of the notice. The administrator, upon request, has the discretion to extend this time period for a reasonable time.

4. The notice will advise the respondent of the aggrieved person's right to commence a civil action under the law, in a state circuit court, no later than 180 days after the conclusion of the administrative process with respect to a complaint or charge, or, not later than two years after the occurrence or termination of the alleged discriminatory housing practice, whichever is longer.

5. If the person is not named in the complaint, but is being joined as an additional or substitute respondent, the notice will explain the basis for the administrator's belief that the joined person is properly joined as a respondent.

6. The notice will advise the respondent that retaliation against any person because he made a complaint or testified, assisted, or participated in an investigation or conciliation under this part is a discriminatory housing practice that is prohibited under the law and these regulations.

7. The notice may invite the respondent to enter into a conciliation agreement for the purpose of resolving the complaint.

8. The notice may include an initial request for information and documentation concerning the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged discriminatory housing practice set forth in the complaint.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-96.8 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR585-01-05 § 3.9, eff. December 1, 1991.

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