Guidelines For Access To The Department Of Housing And Community Development Public Records

Public records maintained by the Department of Housing and Community Development will be available for inspection by members of the public pursuant to the following procedures:

  1. Public records maintained by the Department are available for inspection during the regular business hours of the Department. The Department is entitled to a reasonable period of time to locate the records if they are 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.
  2. Requests for inspection of copying of public records:
    1. Should be specific, focused and not interfere with the ordinary business operations of the department. The operational functions of the department will not be suspended to permit inspection of records during periods in which records are required by Department personnel for the performance of their duties. If the request requires review of numerous records, a mutually agreeable time should be established for the inspection of the records.
    2. Should sufficiently describe records so that identification, location and retrieval of the records can be achieved without undue burden. Reasonable assistance shall be given to the requestor to help him or her satisfy this requirement.
    3. Should be directed to the office, division, branch, or section of the Department which created and has ownership responsibility of the desired records. If the requestor does not know which component is responsible for the desired records, the request for inspection should be directed to prarequest@hcd.ca.gov the Public Records Coordinator of the Department for routing to the appropriate individual.
    4. Is encouraged to be made in writing unless the request involves records which are maintained by the department for the purpose of immediate public inspection.
  3. The Department may refuse to disclose any records that are privileged or exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act.
  4. Physical inspection of the records shall be permitted within the Department’s offices and under the conditions determined by the Department. 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. Persons inspecting Department records shall not destroy, mutilate, deface, alter, or remove any such records from the Department. The Department reserves the right to have Departmental personnel present during the inspection of records in order to prevent the loss or destruction of records.
  5. Upon any request for a physical copy of records, other than records the Department has determined to be exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act, Department personnel shall provide copies of the records only upon payment of a fee covering the costs of duplication. There is no charge for the mere inspection of records.
  6. A copy of these guidelines shall be posted in a conspicuous public place in each office of the Department of Housing and Community Development. Copies shall also be made available free of charge to any person requesting a copy.