Fair Housing for Housing Professionals
TDHCA monitored properties, administrators and subrecipients, and housing activities are subject to the Fair Housing Act and related legislation as described on the Fair Housing 101 page and as applicable under specific program area NOFAs, applications, contracts, and rules.
See Texas Administrative Code (sos.state.tx.us)
See Texas State Government Code Chapter 2306 (www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us).
In addition, TDHCA, under HUD's guidance, is also required to engage in fair housing planning that consists of:
- Creating and updating an Analysis of Impediments (AI),
- Taking appropriate actions to overcome effects of the impediments identified in the AI, and
- Maintaining records reflecting the analysis and actions to support the state's certification that it is working to affirmatively further fair housing.
In general, properties that were built after 1991 and that have an elevator with four or more units are required to have public and common areas that are accessible to persons with disabilities, must have door and hallways that are wide enough for wheelchairs and provide an accessible route through the unit, provide accessible environmental controls (light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats), provide reinforced bathroom walls for easy installation of grab bars, and kitchen and bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs. TDHCA rental properties (including HTC properties) are also subject to Section 504 requirements as required by Texas Government Code (§2306.6722) and other requirements as specified in their Land Use Restriction Agreements (LURAs).
Fair Housing Accessibility First (www.fairhousingfirst.org) has more guidance and additional training materials. Review the Fair Housing Construction Design Manual (PDF) (www.huduser.org), or read the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") guidelines (www.ada.gov) as adopted by the Department of Justice as an enforcement standard on the Department of Justice's ("DOJ") ADA page.
Subchapter F of TDHCA's Uniform Multifamily Rules (sos.state.tx.us) includes TDHCA's monitoring rules relating to construction standards. For more information on the construction inspection and monitoring process (including final inspection checklists and information on common accessibility deficiencies), visit Construction Inspections and Accessibility.
Single Family Housing
Single Family Construction activities must comply with accessibility requirements of the Texas Government Code, Section 2306.514 (www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us) and any other requirements published by the funding program. In general, Texas Government Code includes requirements for accessible entrances, doors and hallways, bathroom walls, accessible environmental controls (light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats), and accessible breaker boxes.
Detached single family homes that are funded in any way by federal, state, or local funds may also be required to be accessible under Section 504 and Title II of the ADA, which have additional requirements. For more information, visit Fair Housing Accessibility First (www.fairhousingfirst.org) or see the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standard (www.access-board.gov).
For additional information, review the Supplement to Notice of Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines: Questions and Answers about the Guidelines (hud.gov).
Section 504 (www.hud.gov), HUD's implementing regulations at 24 CFR Part 8 (www.ecfr.gov), and ADA (www.ada.gov) Titles II and III apply to shelters funded by the Emergency Solutions Grants program ("ESG"). More information is available on this topic on the ESG page at OneCPD (www.onecpd.info).
A reasonable accommodation is a change in rules, policies, or practices that may be necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling, such as assistance in filling out a rental application or allowing a unit transfer. This could also include structural modifications or changes.
For most TDHCA monitored rental properties, such modifications are typically required at the expense of the property owner.
Common reasonable accommodations can include (but are not limited to):
- Allowing a service or companion animal despite a "no pets" policy
- Reserving a parking spot near a unit for a tenant with a mobility disability
- Removing carpeting from a unit or not allowing maintenance staff to use certain chemicals in or around a unit to accommodate a tenant with severe respiratory disabilities
- Allowing the use of an interpreter or auxiliary aid for a tenant with a hearing disability
- Allowing a tenant unit transfer from an upper unit to a ground floor unit to accommodate a tenant with a mobility disability
Owners have the right to request verification of a tenant's disability but cannot request information about the nature, extent, or severity of a person's disability. The request should also show an identifiable relationship between the requested accommodation and the person's disability.
An Owner can deny a request lawfully if the request was not made by or on behalf of a person with a disability or if there is no disability-related need for the accommodation. In addition, a request for a reasonable accommodation may be denied if the request would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the housing provider or it would fundamentally alter the nature of the provider's operations.
The determination of undue financial and administrative burden must be made on a case-by-case basis involving various factors such as:
- The cost of the requested accommodation,
- The financial resources of the provider,
- The benefits the accommodation would provide to the requestor, and
- The availability of alternative accommodations that would effectively meet the requestor's disability-related needs.
If an Owner makes a decision to refuse an accommodation request, the provider should discuss with the requestor whether there is an alternative accommodation that would effectively meet the requestor's disability-related needs. For additional information and relevant examples, review the Reasonable Accommodations Under the Fair Housing Act Joint Statement (PDF) (hud.gov) released by HUD and DOJ.
Note that the disability discrimination provisions of the Fair Housing Act do not extend to persons who claim to be disabled solely on the basis of having been adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent, having a criminal record, or being a sex offender. Furthermore, the Fair Housing Act does not protect persons who currently use illegal drugs, persons who have been convicted of the manufacture or sale of illegal drugs, or persons with or without disabilities who present a direct threat to the persons or property of others.
TDHCA will monitor for compliance with the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 standards at the time of its onsite compliance monitoring visits and may request copies of selected documents (such as a tenant selection plan, application, or tenant file documents) if a complaint has been entered against the property.
TDHCA Single Family and Community Affairs administrators and subrecipients are also subject to the Fair Housing Act and Section 504, along with other applicable laws, as provided in the Texas Administrative Code (sos.state.tx.us), Title 1, Part 1, Chapter 1, Subchapter B. Administrators and subrecipients must be aware of their responsibilities under the Code and consider reasonable accommodations as directed.
Affirmative Marketing and Outreach
The purpose of affirmative marketing is to specifically identify potentially eligible tenants and homebuyers who are "least likely to apply" for housing and ensure they are aware of available housing opportunities.
TDHCA requires all TDHCA monitored rental properties to affirmatively market. Multifamily property owners must follow the Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Rule located in Subchapter F of the Uniform Multifamily Rules (sos.state.tx.us), Section 10.617. The Affirmative Marketing Web Tool referenced in the Rule can be located on the Compliance Forms page.
Single Family Administrators and Consultants must follow Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing provisions as included in contracts and program provisions. A new Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing rule is being proposed for the Single Family Umbrella Rule (sos.state.tx.us).
ESG Administrators must follow Affirmative Outreach provisions as outlined in 24 CFR § 576.407 (ecfr.gov).
For more resources, see HUD's Fair Housing Planning Guide (PDF) (hud.gov), the CPD Analysis of Impediments Memorandum (PDF) (hud.gov), and guidance for CDBG Programs (hud.gov). View TDHCA's Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan (DOC) for its own federally funded activities.
For links to the HUD Affirmative Marketing 935.2A and 935.2B forms, please visit the Toolkits, Downloads, and Sample Forms page.
On September 22, 2014, HUD released a new memo clarifying Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan review requirements for Federal programs. Read the HUD Memo (PDF) (www.hud.gov).
Limited English Proficiency
TDHCA programs, activities, and administrators, as applicable, are required to take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities for individuals who as a result of national origin are limited in their English proficiency. This may include providing language services (oral and written), advertising available services, notifying program participants of their rights, and making documents considered vital to program access available in languages spoken in the community.
DOJ has provided a "safe harbor" for Limited English Proficiency ("LEP") enforcement. A safe harbor is guidance that identifies actions that will be considered strong evidence of compliance.
The table below sets forth safe harbors for written translations.
|Size of Language Group||Recommended Provision of Written Language Assistance|
|1,000 or more in the eligible population in the market area or among current beneficiaries||Translated vital documents|
|More than 5% of the eligible population or beneficiaries and more than 50 in number||Translated vital documents|
|More than 5% of the eligible population or beneficiaries and 50 or less in number||Translated written notice of right to receive free oral interpretation of documents.|
|5% or less of the eligible population or beneficiaries and less than 1,000 in number||No written translation is required.|
To assist recipients in meeting these requirements, HUD has issued several general document translations on the HUD LEP website (hud.gov).
View TDHCA's Language Assistance Plan (PDF) which is reviewed on a biennial basis.
All TDHCA homebuyer participants, including lenders and realtors, are prohibited from engaging in discriminatory conduct by the Fair Housing Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act and are required to agree to non-discrimination provisions in their TDHCA contracts and agreements.
Under the Fair Housing Act, realtors may not take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability (including but not limited to):
- Refuse to rent or sell housing
- Refuse to negotiate for housing
- Make housing unavailable
- Deny a dwelling
- Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale of a dwelling
- Provide different housing services or facilities
- Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection or sale
- For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting) or
- Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale of housing.
Mortgage lenders may not take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability (including but not limited to):
- Refuse to make a mortgage loan
- Refuse to provide information regarding loans
- Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees
- Discriminate in appraising property
- Refuse to purchase a loan or
- Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan.
In addition, it is illegal for anyone to:
- Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right.
- Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.
National Association of Realtors (www.realtor.org) offers a fair housing page with additional information. For fair housing posters for your office or lobby, the fair housing logo, or to access fair housing and fair lending brochures in multiple languages, visit the Toolkits, Downloads, and Sample Forms page.
TDHCA currently provides the following resources on affordable housing development that can be downloaded and used by Owners in working with local governments, community groups, and neighborhood organizations:
- The Multifamily Programs Introduction Packet
- The What Is Affordable Housing Presentation (PPS)
- The Housing Options for Texas Communities Brochure (PDF)
- The Housing Resources Center:
For links to other community toolkits, downloadable fair housing logos for use in advertising, fair housing and Reasonable Accommodations brochures available in multiple languages, and sample forms, visit the Toolkits, Sample Forms, and Downloads page.
Local Trade Organizations
TDHCA is not responsible for the content and does not endorse any of the following sites:
- TAA (Texas Apartment Association) (www.taa.org)
- TAAHP (Texas Affiliation of Affordable Housing Providers) (www.taahp.org)
- TSAHC (Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation) (www.tsahc.org)
- Border Coalition (www.bordercoalition.org)
- Texas Association of Realtors (www.texasrealestate.com)
- Texas Association of Builders (www.texasbuilders.org)
- Rural Rental Housing Association (RRHA) (www.rrhatx.com)
- Texas Association of Community Development Corporations (TACDC) (www.tacdc.org)
Join TDHCA's fair housing email list to stay connected to trainings, events, and other items of interest related to the TDHCA's fair housing initiatives. Visit the TDHCA Events Calendar for access to upcoming TDHCA trainings and events or visit Fair Housing Training.
Contact us to request more information.