The Norwalk Fair Housing Advisory Commission and the position of Fair Housing Officer were established by court order and municipal ordinance in 1986 and arose from a lawsuit brought by the Norwalk chapter of the NAACP against the City of Norwalk. Details of the functions can be found in Norwalk City Code §59A-11 to 16. In short, they share a mission to educate, advocate, assist and advise the City and its residents regarding housing discrimination with the goal of eliminating it.
The Fair Housing Advisory Commission monitors private and public housing practices for compatibility with fair housing laws and objectives, identifies problem areas and makes recommendations to the Mayor, Common Council and Housing Site Development Agency/Norwalk Redevelopment Agency and other appropriate city agencies/commissions.
The Fair Housing Officer: provides information/assistance regarding landlord/tenant laws, housing discrimination and foreclosure; investigates housing discrimination complaints and assists residents in seeking remedies; conducts educational programs and writes a quarterly newspaper column; works with Norwalk landlords and tenants, property managers and real estate professionals; and assists developers and architects of new multifamily housing as to the accessibility requirements in the Fair Housing Act.
If you are a resident of Norwalk and believe you have been discriminated against in any situation related to housing (advertising, real estate agents, renting, buying, financing or living in including services or rules or actions by landlords or neighbors), you may report the incident and seek an investigation by the Fair Housing Officer. If there is reason to believe discrimination has occurred, the Fair Housing Officer will assist residents in trying to resolve the problem and/or filing a housing discrimination complaint. There are time limits set by law for filing complaints so reports of discrimination have to be made promptly. Failure to file a complaint on time means that you lose your right to bring a legal action.
Discrimination in housing based upon membership in various “protected classes” is prohibited as follows (exceptions to the rules are not listed – please contact the Fair Housing Officer if you have questions about those exceptions):
- National origin or ancestry
- Physical, mental disability or learning disability
- Familial status (families with children, pregnant or securing custody of children including foster children)
- Marital status
- Lawful source of income (including Section 8, social security disability or other legal sources of income)
- Sexual orientation
- Gender Identity or Expression
Norwalk residents should contact Norwalk’s Fair Housing Officer, Margaret K. Suib, Esq., if you have any questions, believe you have been discriminated against in housing, and/or would like to file a fair housing complaint at (203) 854-7820 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or may visit the Fair Housing Office, next to City Hall in the Department of Health Building, at 137 East Avenue, 2nd Floor, Norwalk, Connecticut. Regular business hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mailing address: Margaret K. Suib, Esq., Norwalk Fair Housing Officer, 137 East Ave., Norwalk, CT 06851.
The Fair Housing Advisory Commission may be contacted care of the Fair Housing Officer.