California has several state-level laws that match and, in some cases, exceed federal legal protections for people with disabilities. The Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act cover a wide range of housing types, and can be enforced against a wider range of people.
Who do I contact if my accessible parking rights are infringed in California?
If your landlord or employer isn’t providing enough accessible parking, we encourage you to use the form letters on our Resources page to request they add more. This is usually the first step in straightening out any accessible parking problem.
If your initial attempts at finding a solution fail, and you’re in a tough spot at your residence, You may wish to consider filing a complaint an official. To make a claim under either the Fair Housing act or Unruh Civil Rights Act, you can initiate a private lawsuit or file through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Complaints can be filed online or by mail or telephone following the instructions provided here. You can also initiate complaints by contacting your local city or district attorney, though you will most likely find it easier to use the DFEH complaint system. Complaints must be filed with DFEH within one year of the incident.
Once you file a complaint, an investigator will contact you within 30 days and conduct an intake interview over the phone. If the investigator accepts your claim, he or she will draft your complaint, which will require your signature. The complaint may be dual-filed with federal agencies in addition to your state law claims, and it will be served on your housing provider.
The DFEH may issue subpoenas to conduct its investigation, and after issuing a finding, requires that the parties attempt voluntary dispute resolution (a free service provided by the state). If the parties do not reach an agreement, DFEH will file litigation in civil court. You may find hiring an attorney to be helpful if your claim reaches the litigation stage. If you win your claim, in addition to the court’s injunctive relief (i.e., ordering that a parking space is provided to you), you may be able to recover attorney’s fees as well.
For a list of local fair housing offices and legal support organizations, check this list of resources offered by Legal Services of Northern California. If you are in the L.A. area, you may find helpful information via the Housing Rights Center. For other parts of the state, search under California at this site or check the list provided here.
The information contained in these pages is for informational purposes only, and it’s no substitute for legal counsel.