Filing a Complaint

Basis of Complaints

The Human Relations Department investigates housing discrimination, landlord/tenant, and Limited English proficiency (LEP) complaints. Human Relations also refers police complaints from citizens. In order to initiate complaints, guidelines are described below.

How to File Housing Discrimination Complaints

To file a housing discrimination complaint, a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Form 903 must be completed. You may file a complaint with us by either:

  1. Contacting the Winston-Salem Human Relations Department at 336-734-1227 to request this form
  2. Visiting our office in person to request a form and to receive assistance in completing it. We are located in City Hall at:
    101 N Main Street
    Suite 109
    Winston-Salem, NC 27101
  3. Mailing a complaint form to us at our mailing address:
    Winston-Salem Human Relations Department
    P.O. Box 2511
    Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Process

Generally, complaints concerning housing discrimination allegations must be based on discrimination due to race, color, national origin, disability, religion, gender, or disability involving the transacting of real estate (i.e, buying or renting or attempting to buy or rent property). The Department and Commission accept complaints from residents of the City of Winston-Salem who reside in both subsidized and non-federally subsidized housing.

Upon the completion of the investigations, a final determination is made by the Director to decide if there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has taken place. If reasonable cause is determined, the parties are advised that they may choose resolution before either the superior court or an administrative hearing with the Human Relations Commission. If reasonable cause is not determined, the parties are advised that there is insufficient evidence of discrimination. Despite the determination, the parties always have the right to pursue the matter with their own personal attorneys through a court of law.

How to File Landlord/Tenant Complaints

The Department accepts complaints from either landlords or tenants. To file a landlord/tenant complaint, a written complaint should be filed with our Department. If the initial complaint is brought to our attention through a letter or telephone call, investigators will request that you complete the Department's Landlord/Tenant Complaint Form and Waiver Form. You may file a complaint with us by either:

  1. Contacting the Winston-Salem Human Relations Department at 336-734-1227 to request this form
  2. Visiting our office in person to request a form and to receive assistance in completing it. We are located in City Hall at:
    101 N Main Street
    Suite 109
    Winston-Salem, NC 27101
  3. Mailing a complaint form to us at our mailing address:
    Winston-Salem Human Relations Department
    P.O. Box 2511
    Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Complaints concerning landlord/tenant issues such as landlord/tenant disputes, security deposits, pet deposits, lease violations, and general rights must be filed with the Department or Commission in writing. The Department and Commission accepts complaints from residents of the City of Winston-Salem who reside in both subsidized and non-federally subsidized housing. While the Department staff is authorized by ordinance to investigate and mediate landlord/tenant complaints, the staff relies on the parties involved to enforce their landlord/tenant mediation agreements voluntarily or, if necessary, in court.

How to File LEP Complaints

The Department accepts complaints from residents of the City of Winston-Salem who believe they have been unable to access city services or programs due to limited English proficiency. To file an LEP complaint, you may file by either:

  1. Contacting the Winston-Salem Human Relations Department at 336-734-1227 to request this form
  2. Visiting our office in person to request a form and to receive assistance in completing it. We are located in City Hall at:
    101 N Main Street
    Suite 109
    Winston-Salem, NC 27101
  3. Mailing a complaint form to us at our mailing address:
    Winston-Salem Human Relations Department
    P.O. Box 2511
    Winston-Salem, NC 27101

How to File Police Complaints with the Citizen Police Review Board

The primary purpose of the Citizen Police Review Board is to act as a fact finding body in cases involving unresolved citizen complaints against employees of the Police Department. If you find that you need to bring a complaint against a Police Department employee, be sure to note the date and time of day of the incident and try to get as much specific information as possible about the incident. As examples, try to get the name of the employee and names and addresses of any witnesses to the incident.

Process

A general description of the complaint process is, as follows:

  1. You may file a police complaint with the police officer's supervisor or by filing with Human Relations, the City Secretary's Office, or the Police Department's Internal Affairs Section for the Police Chief's review and decision.
  2. If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Police Chief, you may appeal his/her decision to the Citizen Police Review Board by filing a notice with the City Secretary's Office.
  3. If the Citizen Police Review Board decides to hold a hearing, you will be notified of this decision in writing stating the time, date, and place of the hearing.
  4. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Citizen Police Review Board will consider all of the information received and prepare a report on its findings. This report will be presented to the City Manager for his actions. The City Manager will advise you in writing of his resolution of your complaint. This is the final step in the administrative process to resolve a citizen complaint.