Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Building Homes and Strengthening Communities

Fair Housing 101

What Is the Federal Fair Housing Act and Whom Does it Protect?

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is celebrating Fair Housing Month in April with a series of fair housing webinars. The webinar series includes the following topics:

  • Fair Housing Overview – April 5, 2022 at 10 AM – Register here!
  • Assistance Animals – April 12, 2022 at 10 AM – Register here!
  • Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications – April 19, 2022 at 10 AM – Register here!
  • Violence Against Women Act and Fair Housing – April 26, 2022 at 10 AM – Register here!

All recordings, materials, and transcripts are available on the TDHCA Fair Housing Training Presentations page and check out our YouTube playlist for all of our 2022 Fair Housing Month trainings.

If you have any additional questions, please email: Fair.Housing@tdhca.state.tx.us

You can learn more about your Fair Housing rights with this poster (PDF) (Español {PDF})

The Federal Fair Housing Act refers to Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (www.justice.gov). This Act, in addition to the Texas Fair Housing Act (www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us), protects your right to rent an apartment, buy a home, obtain a mortgage, or purchase homeowners insurance free from discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status, and
  • Disability

Cities, counties, and other municipalities may have additional housing discrimination laws to protect additional groups. To find out about existing additional protections in your City, County, or municipality, find website listings in the Texas.gov (www.texas.gov) directory or find and contact your local Legal Aid Office using TXLawHelp.org (www.txlawhelp.org).

In addition to the Act, the following legislation and executive orders may apply and provide a basis for federal fair housing enforcement:

For help in identifying what discrimination may look like, please view the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") YouTube Channel (youtube.com) or the National Fair Housing Alliance page (fairhousingresourcecenter.com). If you believe you have been a victim of discrimination, view the How to File a Complaint page. To download more information, including the HUD complaint app and fair housing rights brochures, visit our Toolkits, Sample Forms, and Downloads page.

Fair Housing in TDHCA Monitored Rental Properties

As an entity that receives HUD funding, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs ("TDHCA") is committed to meeting HUD requirements to expand fair housing choice and opportunities in the State of Texas. See additional guidance on this page for renters, homebuyers, housing professionals, or elected officials and local governments.

The Department of Justice ("DOJ") and HUD are jointly responsible for enforcing the Fair Housing Act. The Texas Workforce Commission ("TWC") (www.twc.state.tx.us) is the state agency in Texas responsible for enforcing the Texas Fair Housing Act, even in TDHCA monitored rental properties. To learn more about making a complaint, visit the How to File a Complaint page.

Are Any Kinds of Housing Exempt From the Law?

All housing is covered by fair housing laws although there may be differences in how some laws and provisions are applied. Only owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members are exempt under certain circumstances.

While not exempt, some properties follow special guidance under the Housing for Older Persons Amendment ("HOPA") to the Fair Housing Act, which can change the way a property must follow familial status protections under fair housing law. Review the HOPA (PDF) (hud.gov). For additional guidance, please read HUD's HOPA FAQs (PDF) (hud.gov).