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Texas Fair Housing Act: An Overview

Texas landlords obtain certain responsibilities after establishing a lease with a tenant. Among this range of responsibilities is abiding by the state’s fair housing laws. 

Fair housing laws require landlords to treat tenants without discrimination on the basis of certain protected classes. The laws apply in all interactions landlords have with tenants, including when you’re marketing your property, screening prospective tenants, or even when evicting the tenant. 

If you’re looking to rent out a property in Texas or simply want to learn more, here’s everything you need to know about the Fair Housing Act. 

What Is Fair Housing?

All Americans have a right to choose housing without being discriminated against. It is a collective set of federal, state, and local laws ensuring equal access to rental and homeownership opportunities. 

The Federal Fair Housing Act provides protections and outlaws discrimination on the basis of seven classes. Which are: race, color, religion, nationality, sex, familial status, and disability. 

Does Texas Have Fair Housing Laws? 

Yes, fair housing laws in Texas are the same as what is covered under the federal Fair Housing Act. Texas doesn’t have additional protected classes.

What Does the Texas Fair Housing Act Cover?

The Texas Fair Housing Act protects individuals looking to:

  • Rent or buy a home. 
  • Rent or buy vacant land. 
  • Buy insurance to protect their property. 
  • Take out a mortgage. 

Texas has the same protections as those at the federal level. That is race, color, religion, sex, familial status, nationality, and disability. 

What Are the Exemptions to the Texas Fair Housing Act? 

In Texas, there are certain types of housing that are exempt from Fair Housing Laws. However, if you own a standard single-family home and are renting it out, it is unlikely that these exemptions will apply to you. 

  • Private Clubs/Religious Groups – These can limit membership to only individuals belonging to that group. 
  • Maximum Occupancy – In Texas, the maximum number of adults per dwelling is three times the number of bedrooms. 
  • Housing for Older People – This applies to housing specifically designed for elderly residents. Owners are allowed to only accept renters who meet their age requirements. 

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How Can I Provide Fair Housing as a Property Owner?  

It’s especially important to keep fair housing laws in mind during the marketing and application processes for your rental property. Be mindful of the language you use when writing advertisements for your property, and always use the exact same screening process for each tenant. 

The following actions may be deemed discriminatory as per Texas Fair Housing Laws. 

  • Stating that your property is ideal for either women or men. 
  • Choosing or rejecting a tenant because of the religion they practice. 
  • Showing preferential treatment to a tenant based on where they are originally from. 
  • Suggesting a unit is safer or dangerous for one gender over another. 
  • Choosing to rent your property to an individual who doesn’t have children over one that does. 
  • Refusing to rent your property to an individual because of their service animal

Here are some of the best ways you can make sure you’re providing fair housing opportunities for each of your tenants – prospective and current!

  • Have a fair tenant screening process. 
  • Treat all prospective and current tenants equally and fairly by not showing preference or limitation. 
  • Advertise your vacant rental property properly. 
  • Hire a property management company to keep you legally compliant and handle all other operations for peace of mind. 

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Bottom Line

Abiding by the Fair Housing Act in Texas is key to running a successful investment property. If you have questions about landlord-tenant laws or need expert help to manage your property, Real Property Management Talent can help. Get in touch to learn more about our customized property management services.

Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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