24 CFR 8.56 - Conduct of investigations.
(a) Periodic compliance reviews. The responsible civil rights official or designee may periodically review the practices of recipients to determine whether they are complying with this part and where he or she has a reasonable basis to do so may conduct on-site reviews. Such basis may include any evidence that a problem exists or that programmatic matters exist that justify on-site investigation in selected circumstances. The responsible civil rights official shall initiate an on-site review by sending to the recipient a letter advising the recipient of the practices to be reviewed; the programs affected by the review; and the opportunity, at any time prior to receipt of a final determination, to make a documentary or other submission that explains, validates, or otherwise addresses the practices under review. In addition, each award official shall include in normal program compliance reviews and monitoring procedures appropriate actions to review and monitor compliance with general or specific program requirements designed to effectuate the requirements of this part.
(b) Investigations. The responsible civil rights official shall make a prompt investigation whenever a compliance review, report, complaint or any other information indicates a possible failure to comply with this part.
(c) Filing a complaint -
(1) Who may file. Any person who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination prohibited by this part may by himself or herself or by his or her authorized representative file a complaint with the responsible civil rights official. Any person who believes that any specific class of persons has been subjected to discrimination prohibited by this part and who is a member of that class or who is the authorized representative of a member of that class may file a complaint with the responsible civil rights official.
(2) Confidentiality. The responsible civil rights official shall hold in confidence the identity of any person submitting a complaint, unless the person submits written authorization otherwise, and except to the extent necessary to carry out the purposes of this part, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or proceeding under this part.
(3) When to file. Complaints shall be filed within 180 days of the alleged act of discrimination, unless the responsible civil rights official waives this time limit for good cause shown. For purposes of determining when a complaint is filed under this paragraph, a complaint mailed to the Department shall be deemed filed on the date it is postmarked. Any other complaint shall be deemed filed on the date it is received by the Department.
(4) Where to file complaints. Complaints may be filed by mail with the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC 20410, or any Regional or Field Office of the Department.
(5) Contents of complaints. Each complaint should contain the complainant's name and address, the name and address of the recipient alleged to have violated this part, and a description of the recipient's alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Department of the nature and date of the alleged violation of this part.
(6) Amendments of complaints. Complaints may be reasonably and fairly amended at any time. Amendments to complaints such as clarification and amplification of allegations in a complaint or the addition of other recipients may be made at any time during the pendency of the complaint and any amendment shall be deemed to be made as of the original filing date.
(d) Notification. The responsible civil rights official will notify the complainant and the recipient of the agency's receipt of the complaint within ten (10) calendar days.
(e) Complaint processing procedures. After acknowledging receipt of a complaint, the responsible civil rights official will immediately initiate complaint processing procedures.
(1) Preliminary investigation.
(i) Within twenty (20) calendar days of acknowledgement of the complaint, the responsible civil rights official will review the complaint for acceptance, rejection, or referral to the appropriate Federal agency.
(ii) If the complaint is accepted, the responsible civil rights official will notify the complainant and the award official. The responsible civil righs official will also notify the applicant or recipient complained against of the allegations and give the applicant or recipient an opportunity to make a written submission responding to, rebutting, or denying the allegations raised in the complaint.
(iii) The party complained against may send the responsible civil rights official a response to the notice of complaint within thirty (30) calendar days of receiving it. With leave of the responsible civil rights official, an answer may be amended at any time. The responsible civil rights official will permit answers to be amended for good cause shown.
(2) Informal resolution. In accordance with paragraph (j) of this section, the responsible civil rights official shall attempt to resolve complaints informally whenever possible.
(f) Dismissal of complaint. If the investigation reveals no violation of this part, the responsible civil rights official will dismiss the complaint and notify the complainant and recipient.
(g) Letter of findings. If an informal resolution of the complaint is not reached the responsible civil rights official or his or her designee shall, within 180 days of receipt of the complaint, notify the recipient and the complainant (if any) of the results of the investigation in a letter sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, containing the following:
(1) Preliminary findings of fact and a preliminary finding of compliance or noncompliance;
(2) A description of an appropriate remedy for each violation believed to exist;
(3) A notice that a copy of the Final Investigative Report of the Department will be made available, upon request, to the recipient and the complainant (if any); and
(4) A notice of the right of the recipient and the complainant (if any) to request a review of the letter of findings by the reviewing civil rights official.
(h) Right to review of the letter of findings.
(1) A complainant or recipient may request that a complete review be made of the letter of findings within 30 days of receipt, by mailing or delivering to the reviewing civil rights official, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Washington, DC 20410, a written statement of the reasons why the letter of findings should be modified in light of supplementary information.
(2) The reviewing civil rights official shall send by certified mail, return receipt requested, a copy of the request for review to the other party, if any. Such other party shall have 20 days to respond to the request for review.
(3) The reviewing civil rights official shall either sustain or modify the letter of findings within 60 days of the request for review. The reviewing civil rights official's decision shall constitute the formal determination.
(4) If neither party requests that the letter of findings be reviewed, the responsible civil rights official shall, within fourteen (14) calendar days of the expiration of the time period in paragraph (h)(1) of this section, send a formal written determination of compliance or noncompliance to the recipient and copies to the award official.
(i) Voluntary compliance time limits. The recipient will have ten (10) calendar days from receipt of the formal determination of noncompliance within which to come into voluntary compliance. If the recipient fails to meet this deadline, HUD shall proceed under § 8.57.
(j) Informal resolution/voluntary compliance -
(1) General. It is the policy of the Department to encourage the informal resolution of matters. The responsible civil rights official may attempt to resolve a matter through informal means at any stage of processing. A matter may be resolved by informal means at any time. If a letter of findings making a preliminary finding of noncompliance is issued, the responsible civil rights official shall attempt to resolve the matter by informal means.
(2) Objectives of informal resolution/voluntary compliance. In attempting informal resolution, the responsible civil rights official shall attempt to achieve a just resolution of the matter and to obtain assurances where appropriate, that the recipient will satisfactorily remedy any violations of the rights of any complainant and will take such action as will assure the elimination of any violation of this part or the prevention of the occurrence of such violation in the future. The terms of such an informal resolution shall be reduced to a written voluntary compliance agreement, signed by the recipient and the responsible civil rights official, and be made part of the file for the matter. Such voluntary compliance agreements shall seek to protect the interests of the complainant (if any), other persons similarly situated, and the public interest.
(k) Intimidatory or retaliatory acts prohibited. No recipient or other person shall intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any person for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by this part, or because he or she has made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this part. The identity of complainants shall be kept confidential except to the extent necessary to carry out the purposes of this part, including the conduct of investigation, hearing or judicial proceeding arising thereunder.