In general, a victim of housing discrimination can do any or all of the following things. Keep in mind that the Iowa law and federal law are very similar, but it is possible that some actions might violate one but not the other. The Iowa Civil Rights Commission can give more information about what each law covers.
- A victim of discrimination can file a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC). The time limit for filing a complaint with the ICRC is 300 days from the time the discrimination happened. To do this, you can:
- Click here to get to the ICRC website with details on the process in English and Spanish plus the forms to file a complaint. The full URL is:
- You can reach the ICRC toll-free at 1-800-457-4416, or in Des Moines calling area at (515) 281-4121. The Fax number is (515) 242-5840.
- You can write to the ICRC at:
Iowa Civil Rights Commission
Grimes State Office Building
400 E. 14th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-1004
- A victim of discrimination can file a complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The time limit for filing a complaint with HUD is one year from the time the discrimination happened. To reach HUD, you can:
- A victim of discrimination can file a lawsuit without going to either the ICRC or HUD first. A lawsuit has to be filed within two years of the time the discrimination happened.
A lawyer can explain what the best remedy is in a particular situation.
Since you only have a limited time to file a complaint, it is important to contact an attorney, Fair Housing Office, Iowa Civil Rights Commission, or U.S. Department of HUD as soon as you believe you have been discriminated against.
Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans.
To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:
- Call 800-532-1275.
- Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161.
- Apply online at iowalegalaid.org
If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer” on the Iowa State Bar Association website iowabar.org. A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.
As you read this information, remember this article is not a substitute for legal advice.