Public Records Request

Access To Public Records

Any person has the right to access public records maintained by government agencies, including the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). As the Legislature stated in enacting the California Public Records Act, "access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state." HCD's access to public records rest on that principle.

Direct Your Request to the Public Records Act Coordinator

HCD has a designated portal for Public Records Acts (PRA) requests. You can access this portal by clicking here.

By mail:

Housing and Community Development
Legal Affairs Division
Attn: PRA Request
2020 W. El Camino Avenue, Suite 525
Sacramento, CA 95833

By calling (916) 263-2769 and ask to speak with the PRA Coordinator.

Written Requests Strongly Encouraged

HCD encourages, but does not require, PRA requests to be made in writing. This is done to ensure that requests are responded to accurately and timely. When requests are made orally, HCD may confirm the request in writing to ensure it has correctly understood the request.

Records Defined

"Records" include any writing owned, used or maintained by HCD in the conduct of its official business. Writings include information recorded or stored on paper, computers, email, or audio or visual tapes.

Identifying Records

In order to help HCD provide records promptly, requesters should provide specific information about the records they seek. When a record cannot be identified by name, the requester should attempt to be as specific as possible in describing the record, based on its content. If known, requesters should indicate the office, division, branch or section of HCD that created and maintains the records.

When a request is not sufficiently specific, HCD staff will help the requester to identify the information, describe how the records are maintained or their physical location, and provide suggestions on how to overcome practical barriers to disclosure.

Inspection of Public Records

Public records maintained by HCD are available for inspection during HCD's regular business hours. HCD is entitled to a reasonable period of time to locate the records if not readily accessible and to determine whether they must first be reviewed, and possibly redacted, in order to protect confidential or other exempt material from improper disclosure. HCD makes numerous publications and records freely available on its website.

Upon either the completion of the inspection or at the request of Department personnel, the person conducting the inspection shall relinquish physical possession of the records. In order to prevent records from being lost, damaged or destroyed during an inspection, HCD employees may determine the location of, and may monitor, the inspection.

Persons found guilty of stealing, willfully destroying, mutilating, defacing, altering or falsifying, removing or secreting the whole or any part of a document, map, book, paper or other record, or who permits any other person to do so, is punishable by imprisonment in state prison, or in a county jail, not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by both fine and imprisonment (Government Code sections 6200-6201).

Processing Requests for Copies of Records

When a copy of a record is requested, and the record cannot be produced immediately, HCD will respond to the requestor within 10 calendar days after receipt of the request and respond whether HCD maintains responsive records. The initial 10-day period may be extended for up to an additional 14 days if HCD needs to:

  1. Communicate with field offices;
  2. Inspect voluminous records;
  3. Consult with other divisions or agencies; or
  4. Construct a computer report to extract data.

Whenever possible, HCD will provide records within 10 calendar days from the receipt of the request. If this is not possible, HCD will provide records as promptly as they are reviewed and become available.

Duplication Fees

Upon any request for a physical copy of records, HCD may charge the direct cost of duplication when it provides copies of records to the public (10 cents per page). The direct cost of duplication includes the expense of the duplicating equipment and the staff (salary/benefits) required to make a copy of the record.

Records maintained by HCD’s Registration and Titling Program and are subject to fees established by regulation (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 25, § 5660).

There is no charge for the mere inspection of records.

Exemptions

HCD will provide access to all public records upon request unless the law provides an exemption from mandatory disclosure. Examples of records exempt from mandatory disclosure under the California Public Records Act include certain personnel records, attorney-client privilege records, investigative records, drafts, confidential legal advice, records prepared in connection with litigation, and information that may be kept confidential pursuant to other state or federal statutes.

HCD may delay responding to a request when necessary to determine whether any such exemptions apply.

Identification of Requesters

HCD personnel shall not demand that persons requesting to inspect records provide their identification, or the reasons for wanting to inspect records. However, if records are to be picked up or mailed to a requester, relevant identifying information must be provided. Persons wishing to enter secured parts of HCD buildings must comply with the HCD's security protocol, including providing identification.

Relevant Statutes

California Constitution, Article I, Section 3, subdivision (b) and the California Public Records Act (Government Code Sections 6250-6276.48) govern access to public records of California state and local government agencies.