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

Developers, Architects, and Engineers

One of the most costly violations of the Fair Housing Act is related to the development of properties that are not accessible, as required under the Act.

Access Requirements Under Fair Housing Law

The idea of fair housing is to equalize housing opportunity. To increase a disabled person’s ability to access a housing unit, the law requires providers to take steps to increase access, such as:

  • Accessible building entrance on an accessible route.
  • Accessible common and public use areas.
  • Usable doors (usable by a person in a wheelchair).
  • Accessible route into and through the dwelling unit.
  • Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations.
  • Reinforced walls for grab bars.
  • Usable kitchens and bathrooms.

Properties must also allow reasonable modifications and make reasonable accommodations. To show that a requested accommodation or modification may be necessary, there must be an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested accommodation and the individual’s disability.

Fair Housing Choice Disclosure Notice

Owners must provide prospective households (both households taking initial occupancy or relocating) with this Notice no more than thirty (30) and no less than three (3) days prior to the effective date of the lease. Failure to comply will result in a finding of noncompliance. 10TAC§10.608(f), effective December 27, 2012. Download the Fair Housing Choice Disclosure Notice from the Compliance Forms page.

Requirements for Private and Federally Assisted Housing

Accessibility Requirements for Multifamily Housing

Both privately owned and publicly assisted housing, regardless of whether they are rental or for sale units, must meet the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act when they were built for first occupancy after March 13, 1991.

Accessibility Requirements for Federally Assisted Housing

  • All Federally assisted new construction housing developments with five or more units must design and construct five percent of the dwelling units, or at least one unit, whichever is greater, to be accessible for persons with mobility disabilities.
  • An additional two percent of the dwelling units, or at least one unit, whichever is greater, must be accessible for persons with hearing or visual disabilities.
  • These units must be constructed in accordance with the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) or a standard that is equivalent or stricter.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504)

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity that receives financial assistance from any federal agency, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as well as in programs conducted by federal agencies including HUD.

Section 504 requirements differ slightly from Fair Housing Act accessibility requirements. For example, Section 504 requires 5% of the dwelling units, or at least one unit, whichever is greater, to be accessible to persons with mobility disabilities. An additional 2% of the dwelling units, or at least one unit, whichever is greater, must be accessible for persons with hearing or visual disabilities. Although Housing Tax Credits are not considered federal financial assistance, TDHCA requires HTC properties to comply with Section 504 through Land Use Restriction Agreements.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs, services, and activities undertaken by public entities, and requires that requires public and common use areas to be accessible. This includes housing that is provided or made available by a public entity. For example, housing covered by Title II of the ADA includes public housing authorities that meet the ADA definition of "public entity," and housing operated by States or units of local government.