Fair Housing Overview
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:
- National Origin
- Familial Status, and
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 you may 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:
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (www.justice.gov)
- The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (www.access-board.gov)
- Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 (www.justice.gov)
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (www.hud.gov)
- Section 109 of Title I of the Housing Act of 1974 (govinfo.gov)
- The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (www.dol.gov)
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (www.ada.gov)
- The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (PDF) (www.gpo.gov)
- Executive Orders (hud.gov):
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), HUD’s Fair Housing and Civil Rights page (https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/fair-housing/), 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 at TDHCA
Through education, outreach, training, program administration, monitoring, and rule provision, TDHCA works to ensure that its housing and assistance programs are compliant with HUD’s requirements and regulations regarding fair housing. TDHCA’s fair housing staff also administer Texas Administrative Code rules related to reasonable accommodations, written policies and procedures, and affirmative marketing.
The current planning document, the State of Texas Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice is the state’s primary fair housing planning guide through 2024.
TDHCA’s fair housing staff also work with The Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) Civil Rights Division (CRD). TWC-CRD is tasked with enforcing the State of Texas’s Fair Housing Act, which was passed in 1989 and prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status, and disabilities in homeownership or rental housing opportunities. TDHCA works with TWC to ensure that prospective applicants and residents are aware of TWC’s complaint process and that owners and management agents operating TDHCA properties and programs are aware of their responsibilities under the Federal and State Fair Housing Act. If you believe you have been a victim of discrimination complaints can be filed by email, fax, hand delivery, online, or mail or can be filed electronically with TWC here: https://apps.twc.state.tx.us/HDISS/hdiss?execution=e1s1
For more information please visit the How to File a Fair Housing Complaint.
Education, Outreach and Training
In 2020, TDHCA was awarded a HUD Fair Housing Education Outreach Initiatives Grant in the amount of $124,867 to increase awareness of Fair Housing rights and responsibilities among low-income Texans and the stakeholders who work with TDHCA. Through this grant TDHCA staff undertook several activities to this end:
- Creation of three new trainings: Affirmative Marketing, Language Access Plans and Limited English Proficiency, and the Violence Against Women Act.
- Conducting 16 trainings throughout the 15-month grant period.
- Producing high quality posters in English and Spanish that provide basic Fair Housing information and directions on how to obtain more detailed information.
- Promoting brochures and recorded trainings on social media.
Each April, in celebration of Fair Housing Month, TDHCA and TWC collaborate to present an online webinar series providing an overview of Fair Housing and other topics such as the basics of the reasonable accommodation process and guidance on assistance animals. Materials presented at these annual webinars are available on TDHCA’s Fair Housing Training Presentations webpage at https://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/fair-housing/presentations.htm and on the Department’s YouTube channel.
All TDHCA new hires complete fair housing training within the first 90 days of employment. The HUD-approved training is provided online, at no cost through the TWC CRD.
TDHCA’s Fair Housing staff provides approval for and maintains a list of Certified Fair Housing training providers. The list of these approved trainers is available on the Department’s website and is used by Development Owners, managers, architects and engineers as it relates to multifamily residential rental developments awarded under the Department’s Housing Tax Credit Program or other multifamily loan programs. Certified Fair Housing training providers may be approved for a period of two years, after which they must re-submit their qualifications for subsequent approval by Fair Housing staff. More information is available under the heading TDHCA Approved Fair Housing Trainers available off the Fair Housing Training webpage here: https://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/fair-housing/training.htm
Program Administration and Monitoring
Annually TDHCA Fair Housing Staff examine HUD’s Fair Market Rents (FMRs) and Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) to determine if payment standards in the Department's Housing Choice Voucher Program service area may need to be adjusted to expand tenant housing choices. The establishment of the Department’s Housing Choice Voucher payment standards are important because it determines whether a household will be able to find a unit they can afford with the voucher the Department issues.
The Department’s Language Access Plan is revised biennially and defines the actions to be taken by the Department to ensure meaningful access to agency services, programs, and activities for persons who have Limited English Proficiency. The agency contracts with third-party translation and interpreting services through two vendors available on an as-needed basis. Those who are unable to speak, read, write, or understand the English language may call the Department to request translation assistance with any document, event or other information from the Department.
If you have any additional questions, please email: Fair.Housing@tdhca.state.tx.us
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).