(a) A civil action must be commenced within one year after the alleged discriminatory housing practice has occurred. However, the court shall continue a civil case brought pursuant to this section, from time to time, before bringing it to trial if the court believes that the conciliation efforts of the office or local agency are likely to result in satisfactory settlement of the discriminatory housing practice complained of in the complaint made to the office or to the local agency and which practice forms the basis for the action in court. Any sale, encumbrance, or rental consummated before the issuance of any court order issued under the authority of this chapter and involving a bona fide purchaser, encumbrances, or tenant without actual notice of the existence of the filing of a complaint or civil action under the provisions of this chapter are not affected. A civil action may be commenced by an aggrieved person whether or not a complaint has been filed with the office.
(b) The court may grant as relief, as it considers appropriate, any permanent or temporary injunction, temporary restraining order, or other order and may award the plaintiff actual damages, and punitive damages, together with court costs and reasonable attorney's fees in the case of a prevailing party, if the prevailing party in the opinion of the court is not financially able to assume the attorney's fees.