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Brief Outline -- Housing Complaint Process

1. When a signed/verified complaint is received, it is reviewed to determine whether it meets the statutory requirements of the "Iowa Civil Rights Act," Iowa Code Chapter 216. A complaint must be filed with the Commission within 300 days of the last alleged discriminatory incident. 

a. If the complaint does not meet the statutory requirements, it is given an NJ or NT#. The complainant, the person who filed the complaint, is notified that the Commission does not have jurisdiction and the complaint is closed.

"NJ" means not jurisdictional and

"NT" means not timely filed.

b. If the complaint meets the statutory requirements, it is given a CP# and a copy of the complaint is mailed to the complainant. Another copy is served on the respondent, the person or organization charged in the complaint with a violation of Iowa Code Chapter 216.

CP# means complaint number.

All inquiries about the complaint should be by CP#.

2. At any time during the process, the parties may decide to settle the complaint through a voluntary process called mediation.

3. At any time, the complainant may file an action directly in district court regardless of whether an administrative complaint has been filed or if filed, where it is in the process.

4. During investigation, each party is interviewed and additional records are collected. Witnesses are contacted and interviewed. When the investigation is complete, the investigator will analyze all of the collected information and recommend to the administrative law judge whether probable cause or no probable cause exists to believe that discrimination occurred.

From the time the Commission receives the complaint to the time the investigation is completed and a finding by the administrative law judge has been made, the Commission is a neutral fact-finder and represents neither party.

a. If the administrative law judge finds No Probable Cause, the complaint is closed.

b. If the judge finds Probable Cause, the parties are given 20 days to decide whether to proceed in district court or continue with the Commission's complaint process. If the parties choose the Commission, the case is assigned to another administrative law judge and set for public hearing.