The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of: race, religion, color, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status. When based on one of the listed categories, examples of prohibited actions include:
-Refusal to rent or sell housing
-Refusal to negotiate for housing
-Setting different terms, conditions, or privileges for the sale or rental of a dwelling
-Falsely denying that housing is available for inspection/sale/rental
Similar prohibitions apply to mortgage lending.
It is also illegal for anyone to threaten, coerce, intimidate, or interfere with an individual exercising their fair housing right. In mortgage lending, when based on one of the listed categories, no one may:
-Refuse to make a mortgage loan
-Refuse to provide information regarding loans
-Discriminate in appraising property
-Refuse to purchase a loan
-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 exercising a fair housing right.
-Advertise or make any public statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or familial status or disability. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single family and owner occupied housing.
FAIR HOUSING ASSISTANCE
to find out what you can do if you think your Fair Housing Rights have been violated.
Expanding Opportunities. Expanding Choice.
• Do you know your rights under the Fair Housing Act (HUD.gov
• Do you believe someone has discriminated against you under the Fair Housing Act?
• If a consumer, do you know how to file a Fair Housing complaint?
• If a housing professional, do you know how to ensure compliance with the Fair Housing Act?
The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination.
You cannot be denied access to a home solely on the basis of color, race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or your familial status (children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18).
Fair Housing Basics
The general public, including buyers/renters; elected officials; housing developers; mortgage brokers; and leasing/loaning agents, will benefit from a greater understanding of the Federal and Texas Fair Housing Acts, and their impact on daily activities. We have gathered several fair housing resources on this page to help answer many of your fair housing questions.
Federal and State Legislation
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act - HUD.gov
), as amended, covers housing-related activities regardless of whether federal funds are used in the sale, rental, or construction of housing, with some limited exceptions.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap (disability), and familial status (children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18). The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has the responsibility to administer and enforce the provisions of the Fair Housing Act.
Texas also has its own Texas Fair Housing Act (www.twc.state.tx.us
), which closely mirrors the Federal Fair Housing Act. The Civil Rights Division of the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division (TWCCRD) enforces the Texas Fair Housing Act. Complainants received by TWCCRD are investigated by TWCCRD and coordinated with HUD.
Please see the Department’s Fair Housing Training Presentation (PDF)
for a brief overview of the laws and resources available.
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
In addition to the Fair Housing Act, all entities that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), or administer HUD-funded programs, have a duty to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH - HUD.gov)
. HUD defines AFFH as:
• Conducting an analysis to identify impediments to fair housing choice (the AI) within the jurisdiction;
• Taking appropriate actions to overcome the effects of any impediments identified through the analysis; and
• Maintaining records reflecting the analysis and actions taken in this regard.
As part of TDHCA’s AFFH efforts, all awardees must have affirmative marketing procedures (HUD.gov)
to attract potential consumers or residents regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status, and that are primarily targeted to tenants and homebuyers who are least likely to apply for the housing. Awardees must also maintain waiting lists in a non-discriminatory manner.
City of Temple Commitment
The City of Temple is fully committed to ensuring that our programs follow the requirements of the Fair Housing Act and operate to further fair housing choice.
Buyers and Renters
Buyers and renters should know their rights under the Fair Housing Act, know how to identify practices that may be discriminatory, and know where to turn for guidance or help with suspected fair housing violations. Having an understanding of the Fair Housing Act can help give Texans the freedom they need to make choices about where they want to live.
Protected Classes and Illegal Discrimination
Both the Federal Fair Housing Act (HUD.gov)
and the Texas Fair Housing Act (www.twc.state.tx.us
) make it illegal to deny a person housing solely on the basis of:
• National Origin
• Familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians; pregnant women and people securing custody of children under 18).
These seven groups are often referred to as the protected classes under the Fair Housing Act. Here are some examples of illegal discrimination, if such action occurred solely based on the person’s protected class:
• Refuse to make a mortgage loan or rent a home
• 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
• Falsely deny that housing is available
• Direct an applicant to a specific neighborhood (steering)
• Refuse to make reasonable accommodations or allow reasonable modifications for persons with disabilities
Categories Not Protected
The Fair Housing Act does not prohibit the denial of housing on the basis of credit worthiness, previous rental history, or criminal record. Furthermore, the Fair Housing Act does not protect persons who present a direct threat to the persons or property of others. Developments that put policies such as these into place must make sure they are consistently applied to everyone attempting to lease or purchase the same or a comparable home.
Modifications to a Home
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. For example, the Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services when doing so would allow a person with a disability the equal opportunity to use and enjoy their dwelling. The Fair Housing Act also allows persons with disabilities to make reasonable modifications to their home. A reasonable modification is a structural modification that allows persons with disabilities the full enjoyment of their home and related facilities. Reasonable modifications are usually made at the resident's expense. Housing providers that receive federal financial assistance, such as HOME funding, must provide and pay for reasonable accommodations including structural modifications to units or public and common areas if they do not amount to an undue financial and administrative burden. Although Housing Tax Credits are not considered federal financial assistance, HTC properties built after 2001 are also required to comply with this requirement.
The City of Temple strives to promote sound housing policies; promote leveraging of state and local resources; prevent discrimination; and ensure the stability and continuity of services through a fair, nondiscriminatory and open process.
Developers, Architects, and Engineers
Developers, Architects, and Engineers of multifamily properties must understand their obligations, not only related to choice and leasing practices, but also construction design requirements that are necessary to comply with the Fair Housing Act. 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 http://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/pmcdocs/FairHousingChoiceDisclosureNotice.pdf
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.
Lenders and Real Estate Professionals
Lenders, real estate brokers and agents, and management companies and leasing agents, must be mindful of how Fair Housing laws impact their marketing, lending, and leasing decisions.
Suspected Fair Housing Act violations can be reported to the Civil Rights Division of the Texas Workforce Commission (www.twc.state.tx.us
) or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.gov).