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City of Norwalk, CT
Fairfield County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City of Norwalk Common Council as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 6-13-1978]
[Amended 12-28-1999]
It is the policy of the City of Norwalk:
A. 
To safeguard all individuals within the city from discrimination because of race, color, religious creed, sex, age, national origin, marital status, ancestry, sexual orientation, lawful source of income, familial status or mental or physical disability, including but not limited to blindness, in connection with housing, thereby to protect their interest in personal dignity and freedom from humiliation, to make available to the city their full productive capacities, to secure the city against strife and unrest which would menace its democratic institutions and to preserve the public safety and general welfare; and
B. 
To supplement through official local action the implementation in Norwalk of Section 46a-64c of the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut (prohibiting denials of full and equal accommodations in housing), the provisions whereof are incorporated herein by reference. References in this article to such sections of the General Statutes shall include such amendments thereof as may be made from time to time.
[Amended 12-28-1999]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMMISSION
The Human Relations Commission of the City of Norwalk as defined in Chapter 60 of the Code of the City of Norwalk.
COMMISSIONER
A member of the Human Relations Commission.
DISCRIMINATE
To cause any difference in treatment based on race, color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, alienage, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, lawful source of income, familial status or present or past history of mental disorder, mental retardation or physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness or deafness, and includes segregation, based upon any of the foregoing categories.
FAMILIAL STATUS
One or more individuals who have not attained the age of 18 years being domiciled with a parent or another person having legal custody of such individual or individuals; or the designee of such parent or other person having such custody with the written permission of such parent or other person; or any person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years.
FAMILY
Includes a single individual.
HOUSING ACCOMMODATION
Any dwelling, housing unit, structure or portion thereof used or to be used for legal residential purposes.
OWNER
Any person having or exercising the right to sell, rent or lease any housing accommodation.
A. 
In connection with any of the transactions set forth in this section which affect any housing accommodation on the open market or in connection with any public sale, purchase, exchange, rental or lease of any housing accommodation, it shall be a prohibited unlawful practice for a person, owner, financial institution, real estate broker or real estate agent or any representative of the above to:
[Amended 12-28-1999]
(1) 
Discriminate against a person (as defined in s § 59A-2) by the refusal to sell, purchase, exchange, rent or lease or otherwise deny to or withhold any housing accommodation or potential housing or real estate from such person.
(2) 
Discriminate against a person (as defined in § 59A-2) in the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale, financing, purchase, exchange, rental or lease of any housing accommodation or real estate or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection therewith.
(3) 
Discriminate against a person (as defined in § 59A-2) by the refusal to receive or transmit a bona fide offer to sell, purchase, exchange, rent or lease any housing accommodation from or to such person.
(4) 
Discriminate against a person (as defined in § 59A-2) by the refusal to negotiate for the sale, purchase, exchange, rental or lease of any housing accommodation to such person.
(5) 
Discriminate against a person (as defined in § 59A-2) by representing to such person that any housing accommodation is not available for inspection, sale, purchase, exchange, rental or lease when it is known to such person, owner, financial institution, real estate broker or real estate salesman, or representatives of any of them, that, in fact, it is so available or to refuse to permit a person to inspect any housing accommodation.
(6) 
Discriminate against a person (as defined in § 59A-2) by failing or refusing to show housing accommodations which are listed for sale or rental.
(7) 
Retaliate against a person because he has filed a complaint, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, hearing or conference under this article by adjusting his rental cost or obligations, by failing to provide proper services or by refusing to deal with such person.
B. 
Nothing in this article with respect to the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of marital status shall be construed to prohibit the denial of housing accommodations to a man and a woman who are unrelated by blood or who are not married to each other.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to:
A. 
The rental or lease of any housing units in a housing accommodation for not more than two families living independently of each other if the owner resides in one of such housing unit.
[Amended 12-28-1999]
B. 
The rental of a room or rooms in a housing accommodation if the owner of the housing accommodation actually resides in such housing accommodation.
[Amended 12-28-1999]
C. 
With respect to the prohibition of sex discrimination, shall not apply to the rental of sleeping accommodations provided on a temporary or permanent basis for the exclusive use of persons of the same sex.
[Amended 12-28-1999]
The administration and enforcement of this article shall be the sole responsibility of the Norwalk Human Relations Commission, and it shall have full operating responsibility for carrying out the provisions of the article. In addition to any powers or duties heretofore conferred on said Commission, it shall have the power and duty to:
A. 
Meet and exercise its powers at any place within the City of Norwalk for the purpose of implementing and administering this article.
B. 
Seek the advice and/or services of the City of Norwalk Corporation Counsel, if deemed necessary by the Commission, and appoint and empower committees and divisions to assist in effecting the purposes and provisions of this article.
C. 
Accept gifts or bequests, grants or other payments, public or private and duly recorded as such, to help finance its activities.
D. 
Receive, initiate, investigate, seek to conciliate, hold hearings on and pass upon complaints alleging violations of this article.
E. 
Hold hearings, administer oaths, take the testimony of any person under oath, subpoena witnesses, and require their attendance and the production for examination of any books and papers relating to any matter under investigation by the Commission.
F. 
Issue remedial orders requiring cessation of violation of this article or requiring such affirmative action as in the judgment of the Commission will carry out the purposes of this article, including, where appropriate, an order forbidding the sale, transfer or leasing of any housing accommodation or ordering the sale or leasing of a housing accommodation to a person found to have been denied the rights protected by this article.
G. 
Apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for such temporary or permanent relief as it deems necessary.
H. 
With the approval of the Common Council, adopt, promulgate, amend and rescind rules and regulations to effectuate the purpose of this article, including regulations requiring the posting of notices prepared or approved by the Commission.
A. 
Filing of complaint.
(1) 
Any person or persons claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful practice prohibited by this article may file a written complaint in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Commission. No complaint hereunder may be filed later than 30 days after the aggrieved person becomes aware of the alleged unlawful practice nor, in any event, more than 60 days after the alleged unlawful practice occurred. Within the above time limitations, any member of the Commission who has reason to believe an unlawful practice has occurred may file a complaint naming the Commission itself as the party complainant.
(2) 
Anything in this article to the contrary notwithstanding, in the event that any proceeding is instituted before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities growing out of substantially the same facts, no complaint shall be acted upon by the Commission, and any action already undertaken upon a complaint shall be suspended. In the event of the institution of such a proceeding, the action of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities shall be final and the Norwalk Commission shall take no further action.
B. 
Upon receipt of a complaint, the Commission shall serve the complaint and a written statement setting forth the rights of the parties and the procedures to be followed by the Commission in the investigation and adjudication of the complaint upon the person or persons (hereinafter referred to as the "respondent") charged with a violation of this article.
C. 
Upon receipt of a complaint, the staff of the Commission shall conduct a preliminary investigation of the complaint and shall, within 90 days after service of the complaint on the respondent, render a written report to the Commission.
[Amended 12-28-1999]
D. 
The commission shall, within 35 days after receipt from the staff of the Commission of the report of the preliminary investigation, determine whether there is probable cause to believe that an unlawful practice has been committed.
[Amended 12-28-1999]
(1) 
If the Commission determines that there is no such probable cause, the complaint shall be dismissed.
(2) 
If the Commission determines that there is such probable cause, the Commission shall make an effort to eliminate the unlawful practice by conference and conciliation in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Commission.
E. 
After the Commission has determined that probable cause exists, unless an order has been issued dismissing the complaint or stating the terms of a conciliation agreement, a hearing shall be called and held by the Commission as soon as practicable, but no later than 120 days.
[Amended 12-28-1999]
F. 
In any proceedings under this section, the respondent may file a written answer to the complaint and may appear at the hearing in person or otherwise, with or without counsel, and may submit evidence and be heard. The Commission, in conducting any hearing, may permit reasonable amendments to any complaint or answer, and any testimony taken at the hearing shall be under oath and shall be fully transcribed, electronically or otherwise, as determined by the Commission.
G. 
Any endeavors or negotiations for conciliation shall not be received in evidence and shall be held confidential by the Commission and its staff.
H. 
Upon the conclusion of the hearing, the decision of the Commission shall be communicated to the complainant(s) and respondent.
I. 
Proceedings may be reopened upon petition of any aggrieved party, except that an application to reopen must be filed within 15 days of service of the Commission's decision upon such aggrieved party; provided, however, that any order previously entered by the Commission shall not be stayed by such petition except upon the vote of the Commission.
[Amended 12-28-1999]
J. 
All hearings held under and pursuant to this article shall be open to the public.
K. 
In computing time or periods of time of 30 days or less under this article, weekends and national and/or state holidays shall be excluded.
[Amended 12-28-1999]
L. 
All papers or pleadings required by this article shall be served personally, by abode service or by certified mail as directed by the Commission.
M. 
At any time after a complaint has been filed, the Commission may file an action in any court of competent jurisdiction seeking appropriate temporary relief against the respondent.
N. 
At any time after a complaint has been filed, the Commission may file an action in a court of competent jurisdiction seeking such appropriate relief against any person as it may deem necessary to prevent any change or position between the complainant(s) and the respondent.
O. 
The Commission may file suit in a court of competent jurisdiction seeking enforcement of any of its orders issued pursuant to this article.
[Amended 8-13-2002]
Pursuant to § 7-1481 of the Connecticut General Statutes, any respondent or complainant aggrieved by a final order of the Commission, or any complainant aggrieved by the dismissal of his/her complaint by the Commission, may appeal to the State Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. Any such appeal shall be filed within 30 days of the mailing of the written decision.
A. 
If the Commission finds that any person has committed an unlawful practice as defined in this article, it may subject such person to a fine not exceeding $100 per offense, and each day of violation of this article shall be deemed a separate offense. The Commission may, if such person refuses to pay the fine, file an action in a court of competent jurisdiction for the collection thereof.
B. 
If a real estate broker, a real estate salesman or an employee thereof has failed to comply with any order issued by the Commission or has been found to have committed an unlawful practice in violation of this article, the Commission may so notify in writing the Real Estate Commission of the State of Connecticut.
C. 
Should the Commission determine at any time that a complaint filed with it alleging a violation of this article was filed in bad faith, the Commission shall forthwith issue an order requiring the complainant(s) to pay to the respondent the amount of the reasonable expenses caused the respondent by the filing of said complaint, including reasonable attorney's fees, and such order may be enforced in the same manner as any other order issued by the Commission pursuant to the provisions of this article.
If any provisions of this article or the application thereof to any eventuality or circumstance should be held to be invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the other provisions or applications of this article, which shall be and continue in effect without the invalid provisions or application, and to this end the provisions of this article are severable.
This article shall take effect in accordance with the Code of the City of Norwalk, § 1-193.
[Adopted 9-9-1986; amended in its entirety 9-27-2005]
It is the policy of the City of Norwalk to advise and assist in the development and implementation of the City's fair housing policy and program, and there shall be established, organized and appointed for the City of Norwalk a Fair Housing Advisory Commission, created for the purposes as stated herein and having delegated to it the powers, duties and responsibilities as hereinafter set forth. Reference is hereby made to the Second Amended Consent Decree in the case of Norwalk Branch NAACP v. City of Norwalk, Case No. B84641, U.S. District Court (CT) (March 6, 2004), which authorized and affects this article.
A. 
The Fair Housing Advisory Commission shall consist of eight members, each of whom shall be an elector of the City of Norwalk throughout his or her term. Commission members shall serve without compensation and shall be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Common Council as hereinafter set forth. Members shall include one representative from each of the following: the NAACP, NEON, the Norwalk Housing Authority, the Norwalk Human Relations Commission, Connecticut Legal Services, Inc., and the Housing Site Development Agency. In addition, there shall be two mayoral appointees who do not have any required affiliation.
B. 
One of the mayoral appointees shall be designated as Chair by the Mayor. The Mayor shall also nominate a Vice Chair who shall be subject to confirmation by a majority vote of the full membership of the Fair Housing Advisory Commission and who shall preside in the absence of the Chair. The Fair Housing Advisory Commission may elect such other officers as it deems necessary. Such officers shall serve for one-year terms or until a successor is appointed.
C. 
Members shall be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Common Council. Each member shall serve a three-year term. The service of such members of the Fair Housing Advisory Commission shall conclude at the expiration of that member's designated term. In the event of the incapacity or resignation of any member, his/her successor shall be appointed in accordance with Subsection A above to serve the remainder of such unexpired term.
D. 
The Mayor's office shall notify member organizations of the pending conclusion of the term of that organization's Commission member no later than two months prior to the expiration of such term. A member organization may submit a name of any new nominee or may submit the name of an incumbent for renomination in time for the Mayor to act on filling such vacancy before the expiration of that term. In the event that the designated member organization does not submit a nominee in a timely fashion, the incumbent's term shall end at the conclusion of his/her term. Where a timely submission has been made by a member organization and the Mayor is responsible for not making a timely nomination to the Common Council for its approval on or before the expiration of that Commissioner's term, the designated member organization's incumbent shall serve until a successor is appointed. If the Mayor refuses to submit the designated nominee of a member organization to the Common Council for its approval or if the Common Council refuses to approve the Mayor's nominee, any incumbent Commissioner representing the designated member organization shall remain in office pending the outcome of any dispute as a result thereof.
The Commission shall hold regular meetings scheduled at least once each month and shall, beforehand, designate the time and place thereof and shall keep records of all its proceedings as required by law. Four members shall constitute a quorum in the exercise of any of the Commission's powers and duties. The Commission may adopt such rules and regulations not in conflict with this article as it deems necessary to effectuate the purposes and provisions hereof.
The Commission shall have the following duties:
A. 
Monitor private and public housing practices for compatibility with fair housing objectives.
B. 
Identify problem areas and make recommendations to the Mayor, Common Council and Housing Site Development Agency and other appropriate City agencies and commissions.
C. 
Develop policy statements, internal and external communication techniques and recommend housing programs.
D. 
Receive and review in a timely fashion the proposed budget for the Fair Housing Office, thereafter making any revisions to the budget it deems necessary or advisable and submitting said budget in a timely fashion consistent with the City's budget process for grant agencies.
E. 
Receive and review the Fair Housing Officer's annual report. Upon acceptance of said Report by the Fair Housing Advisory Commission, said such report shall be submitted to the Mayor, the Housing Site Development Agency, and any other appropriate City commissions and agencies.
F. 
Participate and assist in the selection of any Fair Housing Officer as set forth in § 59A-16A.
G. 
Accept outside funds. The Fair Housing Advisory Commission may, as permitted in the City Code and in a manner approved by the Finance Director, solicit and accept outside funds, gifts or bequests, public or private, with the assistance of the Fair Housing Officer, consistent with the purpose of the Commission, in order to finance its activities. The outside funds cannot be used to advance or pay the salary of the Fair Housing Officer. The City may reasonably consider the receipt of outside funds when considering the budget of the Fair Housing Office.
A. 
There shall be a Fair Housing Officer who shall act as staff to the Fair Housing Advisory Commission in the pursuit of its duties as set forth above. The Fair Housing Officer shall be accessible to the Mayor and the Housing Site Development Agency as required.
B. 
The Fair Housing Officer shall be under only administrative supervision by the Executive Director of the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency. The Fair Housing Officer shall report to and receive day-to-day managerial supervision from this source. The Fair Housing Officer shall receive policy advice and direction from the Fair Housing Advisory Commission in those areas relating to the duties of the Fair Housing Advisory Commission. The Fair Housing Officer shall supervise any and all volunteers and support staff. The location of the office of the Fair Housing Officer shall be in the office of the Redevelopment Agency. The location of the office of the Fair Housing Officer and the administrative supervisor may be changed subject to further agreement between the City and the NAACP.
C. 
The Fair Housing Officer will file an annual report with the Fair Housing Advisory Commission prior to the end of the City's fiscal year pertaining to his/her activities and findings and regarding enforcement and compliance in the City under Title VIII and the City's Equal Opportunity Housing ordinances (Chapter 59A of the Norwalk City Code). Upon acceptance by the Fair Housing Advisory Commission, said annual report shall be submitted by the Fair Housing Officer to the Mayor, the Housing Site Development Agency and other appropriate City commissions and agencies as directed by the Fair Housing Advisory Commission.
D. 
The Fair Housing Officer shall prepare a proposed budget for the Fair Housing Office and support staff and shall submit said budget to the Fair Housing Advisory Commission for its timely review.
A. 
The hiring and termination of the Fair Housing Officer shall be made upon the terms and conditions as set forth herein. Upon the vacancy of the position of Fair Housing Officer, the Fair Housing Advisory Commission shall, in the normal course, accept and review resumes and conduct interviews of candidates for the position. Upon consideration of same, the Fair Housing Advisory Commission shall meet and recommend the selection of a Fair Housing Officer and shall submit his/her name to the Housing Site Development Agency which shall ratify such recommendation unless good cause is shown. The Fair Housing Advisory Commission may, on an annual basis, subject to the provisions of any and all laws and regulations, conduct an evaluation of the performance of the Fair Housing Officer. The Fair Housing Advisory Commission may also recommend that the Fair Housing Officer be terminated for unsatisfactory performance or other just cause. Such termination recommendation shall be submitted to the Housing Site Development Agency for approval unless good cause is shown. The Housing Site Development Agency determination of whether good cause exists to reject the recommendation of the Fair Housing Advisory Commission regarding hiring or termination shall be final and binding upon the Fair Housing Advisory Commission.
B. 
The Fair Housing Advisory Commission may, subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and other applicable laws, conduct an evaluation of the Fair Housing Officer at a meeting where at least six Commissioners are present. Any evaluation shall require the affirmative vote of at least five Commissioners. The approved evaluation will be placed in the Fair Housing Officer's personnel file, along with any comments concerning the evaluation filed by the Fair Housing Officer. This procedure shall not preclude the Executive Director of the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency from conducting a similar evaluation as to those areas in which he/she supervises the Fair Housing Officer.