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If you believe you may have been discriminated against while trying to buy, finance or rent a home or apartment in Texas, you may submit a discrimination complaint through the TWC Civil Rights Division. You may submit a complaint within one year from the date of alleged harm but you should submit it as soon as possible. How to Submit a Housing Discrimination Complaint explains what to do to submit a complaint.
The Texas Fair Housing Act and the U.S. Fair Housing Act protect you from discriminatory housing practices in the sale, rental and financing of dwellings based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, or familial status (presence of a child under age 18 living with parents or legal custodians, person securing custody of children under 18, or a pregnant woman).
The Texas Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In some circumstances, the law exempts 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. Also, housing developments that qualify as housing for persons age 55 or older may be exempt from the provisions barring discrimination on the basis of familial status.
Everyone who lives in the United States is protected from discrimination in housing; sale, rental, and financing of dwellings; lending; home appraisal; insurance and accessibility. Fair housing means you may freely choose a place to live without regard to your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status.
It is illegal for anyone to:
Under the U.S. Fair Housing Act and Texas Fair Housing Act, no one may take any of the following actions in the sale and rental of housing or in mortgage lending based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or familial status.
Unless a building or community qualifies as housing for older persons, the owner or manager may not discriminate based on familial status.
Protection against discrimination based on familial status applies to:
Housing for older persons is exempt from the prohibition against familial status discrimination if any of the following are true:
If you have a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities, have a record of such a disability or are regarded as having such a disability, you are legally protected against housing discrimination based on that disability. Protection against housing discrimination due to a disability also applies for a person associated with you.
A landlord may not:
If you are disabled, you may request our assistance in reading and completing our forms. Deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech-impaired customers may contact Relay Texas: 800-735-2989 (TTY) and 711 (Voice).
All properties built after March 13, 1991 must comply with design and construction requirements of the Federal and Texas Fair Housing Acts.
In buildings ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 with four or more units and an elevator:
In buildings ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 with four or more units and no elevator, these standards apply to ground floor units.
Our first step is to determine whether we have jurisdiction to investigate. If we do have jurisdiction, then we work with the person who contacted us to complete the complaint. Once we receive all the required information, your signature is required to complete the complaint process.
When we receive your completed complaint, we inform you of our investigation process and the conciliation process. As a first step toward potential conciliation, we will invite you to provide us with an offer that you believe will resolve the issues raised in your complaint.
We also will notify the person who allegedly discriminated against you, explain the investigation and conciliation processes and permit that person to submit a response. We invite that person to provide us with an offer that they believe will resolve the issues raised in your complaint.
Then we investigate your complaint and determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that someone violated the law.
TWC Civil Rights Division staff will try to reach an agreement with the person your complaint is against. A conciliation agreement takes into account both your interest and the public interest. If an agreement is signed, we will take no further action on your complaint and the investigation is concluded. If the agreement is breached, we may recommend that the Texas Attorney General file suit.
If the parties do not reach a mutually acceptable conciliation agreement, our investigation process continues.
If we investigate your complaint, conciliation is not achieved, and we find reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred; we will inform you and may also refer your complaint to the Texas Attorney General for potential action.
If we investigate your complaint and find no reasonable cause to believe the law was violated, we will notify you in writing and inform you of your right to file suit, at your expense, in Federal or State District Court within two years of the alleged violation.