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Texas Fair Housing Act: An Overview

Owning a rental property can be a great way to earn a steady passive income and grow your wealth over time. However, being a landlord is no easy task. You have to manage maintenance, tenant requests, financial reporting, and crucially, comply with Texas rental laws, including the Fair Housing Act.

Non-compliance with fair housing law can result in severe legal consequences, such as hefty fines and lawsuits. In this guide, Real Property Management Prestige explains everything you need to know about the Fair Housing Act in Texas. Read on to learn how to stay compliant and maintain positive landlord-tenant relationships.

What Is the Fair Housing Act?

The Fair Housing Act, enacted in 1968, ensures everyone has equal opportunities when renting or buying property without any discrimination.  It prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and family status. This means landlords, real estate agents, and sellers cannot treat people unfairly or deny housing based on these factors.

For example, under the FHA, a landlord cannot refuse to rent to someone just because they have children or are of a certain race or religion. The Act also mandates accommodations for people with disabilities, such as allowing service animals or making rental homes accessible. 

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees compliance with the Fair Housing Act. They handle complaints regarding discriminatory housing practices. If you want to learn more about fair housing laws, the HUD website is a great resource!

What Are Protected Characteristics Under the Texas Fair Housing Act?

The federal FHA prohibits all sorts of discrimination based on six protected classes. Texas adheres to these federal protections without any additional state-specific categories. Here’s what Texas landlords need to know:


Texas landlords cannot reject interested renters based on their race. Additionally, rental property owners are forbidden from using racially discrimination terms or phrases on their listings and marketing materials. 

National Origin

Landlords and real estate agents in Texas cannot reject rental applications based on the tenant’s national origin. This includes rejecting interested applicants because of their language and culture, as well as giving preferential treatment to applicants of a certain nationality due to their national origin. 



The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants based on their religious beliefs. To comply with fair housing laws, it’s best to avoid phrases like “great for [x religious groups]” in listings and refrain from asking about religious beliefs during the screening process.


Landlords cannot reject renters or buyers based on sex. Even implying that a property is better suited for a particular gender in your listing can breach the housing laws.

Familial Status

Discrimination based on family status can be as simple as writing that your Texas rental is more suitable for families or single individuals in your listing. 

Remember to avoid using phrases like “better suited for families” or “childless couples only” in your listings to comply with fair housing laws. Using such language can be seen as discriminatory against families. Another important point to note is that the Fair Housing Act prohibits charging higher security deposits for families with children. 


Texas landlords must not discriminate against individuals with a disability. This includes declining applications because a disabled tenant might not be a good fit for your property. 

Additionally, landlords are required to provide reasonable living arrangements and make necessary modifications to better accommodate disabled renters.

How To Comply with the Fair Housing Act?

While complying with fair housing laws can seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some practical tips to help you navigate these regulations:

  • Educate Yourself: Familiarize yourself with the Fair Housing Act to prevent discrimination based on protected characteristics and avoid misunderstandings during the screening process.
  • Set Consistent Policies: Apply rental policies and criteria uniformly to all applicants to avoid setting different standards based on personal characteristics.
  • Offer Equal Treatment: Treat all tenants and applicants equally, from property showings to handling maintenance requests.
  • Advertise Inclusively: Avoid discriminatory language in rental listings and advertisements. Focus on property features rather than specific renter qualities.
  • Provide Reasonable Accommodations: Make necessary accommodations for tenants with disabilities, such as allowing service animals or modifying units for accessibility.
  • Screen Tenants: Landlords are required to consider all rental applications, but they can still select tenants based on non-discriminatory factors such as rental history and credit score. Conducting thorough tenant screenings can help landlords avoid difficult eviction procedures with problematic tenants.
  • Document Everything: Keep thorough records of tenant interactions, applications, and decisions. This helps demonstrate compliance with fair housing laws and provides evidence if a complaint arises.
  • Respond to Complaints: Take any discrimination complaints that may arise seriously. By addressing them promptly, you’ll ensure compliance with fair housing laws and maintain your tenants’ trust.
  • Seek Legal Advice: If you’re unsure of compliance with the Fair Housing Act, consult a legal professional specializing in fair housing laws for guidance.

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Bottom Line

The Fair Housing Act ensures renters and homebuyers have equal opportunities to find suitable housing services. As a landlord, you have to comply with these laws and treat all tenants fairly. 

By offering inclusive advertising, setting consistent policies, and providing equal treatment, you’ll protect yourself and your investment from legal issues. If you have more questions about the Fair Housing Act in Texas, contact Real Property Management Prestige. Our team is here to help!


Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in this blog is intended for general guidance and should not be considered as a replacement for professional legal advice. It is important to be aware that laws pertaining to property management may change, rendering this information outdated by the time you read it.

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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