State and Federal Law
Housing developments receiving federal, state or local government funds may not:
- refuse to sell or rent to a person with a disability, or
- impose qualification criteria, rental fees or sales prices, and terms or conditions that are different to those required of persons without disabilities.
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) monitored properties, administrators and subrecipients, and housing activities are subject to the Fair Housing Act and related legislation as described on Fair Housing 101.
TDHCA Overview: https://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/overview.htm
Properties built after 1991 and that have an elevator with four or more units, are required to have:
- public and common areas accessible to persons with disabilities;
- door and hallways wide enough for wheelchairs;
- provide an accessible route through the unit;
- provide accessible environmental controls (light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats);
- provide reinforced bathroom walls for easy installation of grab bars; and
- kitchen and bathrooms that can be used by people who use wheelchairs.
TDHCA rental properties are also subject to Section 504 requirements as required by Texas Government Code sec. 2306.6722.
Section 504 regulations define an accessible unit as one that is located on an accessible route and can be approached, entered, and used by individuals with physical disabilities.
The Section 504 regulations include specific accessibility requirements for new construction and alteration of housing and non-housing facilities. Compliance with the appropriate technical criteria in the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) or HUD’s Deeming Notice, or a standard that is equivalent to or stricter, is an acceptable means of meeting the technical accessibility requirements.
For a federally-assisted new construction housing project, Section 504 requires 5% of the dwelling units, or at least one unit, whichever is greater, to be accessible for 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.
- Fair Housing Accessibility First
- Fair Housing Construction Design Manual (PDF)
- 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines
Single Family Housing
Single-family construction must comply with accessibility requirements of the Texas Government Code, Section 2306.514 and any other requirements published by the funding program. This includes requirements for accessible entrances, doors and hallways, bathroom walls, accessible environmental controls, and accessible breaker boxes.
Detached single-family homes funded in any way by federal, state, or local funds may also be required to be accessible under Section 504 and Title II of the ADA, which have additional requirements. For more information, visit Fair Housing Accessibility First or see the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standard
A reasonable accommodation is a change in rules, policies, or practices that may be necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling, such as assistance in filling out a rental application or allowing a unit transfer. This could also include structural modifications or changes.
For most TDHCA monitored rental properties, such modifications are typically required at the expense of the property owner.
Common reasonable accommodations can include (but are not limited to):
- Allowing a service or companion animal despite a "no pets" policy
- Reserving a parking spot near a unit for a tenant with a mobility disability
- Removing carpeting from a unit or not allowing maintenance staff to use certain chemicals in or around a unit to accommodate an individual with severe respiratory disabilities
- Allowing the use of an interpreter or auxiliary aid for an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing
- Allowing an individual a unit transfer from an upper floor unit to a ground floor unit to accommodate a mobility disability
Owners have the right to request verification of an individual’s disability but cannot request information about the nature, extent, or severity of their disability. The request should show an identifiable relationship between the requested accommodation and the person's disability.
An owner can deny a request lawfully if:
- the request was not made by or on behalf of a person with a disability, or
- there is no disability-related need for the accommodation, or
- the request would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the housing provider or it would fundamentally alter the nature of the provider's operations.
If an owner refuses an accommodation request, they must discuss with the individual whether an alternative accommodation would effectively meet the individual’s disability-related needs. For additional information and relevant examples, review the Reasonable Accommodations Under the Fair Housing Act Joint Statement (PDF).
See Texas Administrative Code, Title 1, Part 1, Chapter 1, Subchapter B.
TDHCA Search Tool for Accessible Housing Units in Texas:
Affordable Housing Resources
- HUD resources for financial assistance
- Compiled resources for financial assistance
- Contact 211 Texas for housing financial assistance in your community
- Find TDHCA’s contact list online or call (800) 525-0657
- Contact the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division at (888) 452-4778
- Contact the Regional Office of HUD at (817) 978-5600