The Federal Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act) offers protection from discrimination based on race, religion/creed, national origin, familial status, or disability when buyers or renters are looking for housing.

The Texas Fair Housing Act was designed to protect individuals from discrimination in the sale and rental of housing. It is essential to be aware of the Texas Fair Housing Act's requirements to ensure compliance and protect everyone involved with your rental property from potential violations.

In this blog post, we will look at how these measures ensure individuals have access to safe and fair housing opportunities in Texas!

What Is the Fair Housing Act?

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that protects people from discrimination when renting, buying, or financing a home. It was created to help protect individuals and families from the effects of housing prejudice.

The act states that it is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. This includes refusing to rent or sell housing and setting different terms and conditions for sale or rental on the basis of these characteristics.

What the Texas Fair Housing Act Covers

The Texas Fair Housing Act, also known as Chapter 301 of the Government Code, is a law protecting people from being discriminated against because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status when they are trying to rent or buy a property in the state of Texas.

A landlord looking at a lease agreement with a family

Fair Housing Based on Familial Status

The act prohibits discrimination based on familial status, meaning that a landlord cannot refuse to rent to someone because they have children or are expecting a baby.

Fair Housing for People with Disabilities

The act also prohibits discrimination based on disability, meaning that landlords must make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities and allow them the same access to rental properties as other tenants. They must instead look at the individual's qualifications and ability to pay rent, just as they would with any other tenant.

What the Texas Fair Housing Act Doesn’t Cover

This can be an important factor to consider when it comes to buying or renting a property. For example, the Texas Fair Housing Act does not cover marital status, income source, sexual orientation, certain criminal convictions, drug or illegal substance addiction, and the threat of harm. It is essential to understand these exclusions when purchasing or leasing a property.

Furthermore, knowing what is not covered by the Texas Fair Housing Act can help you avoid potential discrimination and ensure that everyone is treated fairly. It’s important to be aware of local laws and regulations related to fair housing, security deposits, and evictions in order to stay up-to-date with current statutes.

Hands exchanging documents across a desk

Being informed on these matters can make all the difference in a successful and safe real estate transaction.

Texas Fair Housing Act Exemptions

The Texas Fair Housing Act applies to the sale and rental of all housing in Texas, with certain exemptions. These exemptions include single-family home sales without a broker or agent, owner-occupied multifamily homes with four or fewer units, religious groups and private clubs, appraisals, housing for older people, and maximum occupancies.

Certain Single-Family Home Sales

For single-family home sales that do not involve a real estate broker or agent, these transactions are exempt from the requirements of the act. This includes selling a home directly to an individual buyer without any assistance from a real estate licensee.

Owner-Occupied, Multifamily Homes with Four or Fewer Units

Owner-occupied multifamily dwellings with four or fewer units are also exempt from provisions of the Act when they are rented or sold by their owners. This exemption does not extend to properties owned by corporations or other entities.

Religious Groups and Private Clubs

Religious groups and private clubs are exempt from certain provisions of the Act when they rent or sell dwellings that are either related to or used in connection with their activities, as long as such dwellings contain no more than four units.

Housing for Older People

The Texas Fair Housing Act also includes an exemption for housing designed and operated exclusively for persons 62 years of age or older, provided that it meets certain criteria set forth in the law. This exemption applies to both rental and sales transactions.

An older man in a red striped shirt lifting a baby into the air


Appraisals for the purpose of obtaining financing for a dwelling do not constitute a violation of the Fair Housing Act. Appraisers must still comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding appraisals, including any state-specific requirements.

Maximum Occupancies

Finally, the act also has an exemption for maximum occupancies. Landlords can set occupancy limits that are reasonable and consistent with local health and safety standards, as long as these limits are applied equally to all tenants without regard to race or other protected characteristics.

However, this exemption does not apply if the landlord sets occupancy limits that would have a discriminatory effect or disproportionately impact certain groups of people based on their race or another protected status.

Bottom Line

It is important for landlords and tenants alike to be familiar with the requirements of the Texas Fair Housing Act in order to ensure compliance and avoid potential violations of the law.

If you have questions about Texas landlord-tenant law or are looking for help managing your rental property, contact McCourt Real Estate & Property Management! We are here to take care of all of your rental property needs.

Disclaimer: Please do not use this blog post as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in Texas. Laws change frequently, and this post may not be updated at the time that you read it. Please contact us if you have any questions about Texas laws or anything else regarding your property management needs.