Initially, individuals should keep track of any and all incidents of discrimination they experience, as well as records of any communication with a landlord, seller, or fellow tenant regarding the incident. Depending on residency and the location of the discrimination, the individual can then file local, state, and federal claims.
In San Francisco, he or she should file a complaint with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission reporting a violation of Article 33 of the San Francisco Charter and Administrative Code. In Oakland, he or she should file a complaint with the local human rights commission or contact the City or County Clerk to report a violation of Chapter 9.44 of the Oakland Municipal Code.
For a claim involving violations of state-level law, the California residents may file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). DFEH is where claims alleging violations of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) should be filed. There is no charge to file a complaint, and it can be done without an attorney.
Though California state law is currently more favorable than federal law to an aggrieved tenant, it may be prudent to file a federal claim as well. This complaint should be filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Tenants should also consider speaking with an attorney.