Texas Counties Deliver – learn how county government serves you
Fair Housing Administrator
John Brewton
280 Main Street, Suite 103
Hemphill, TX 75948

Phone: 409-787-5260
Email: john.brewton@co.sabine.tx.us

Sabine County Fair Housing Committee Members:

Veronica Thomas
John Brewton
Gary Parks
Edith McCauley
Brent Cox

If you feel your rights have been violated or you have questions or concerns you may contact any individual member of the committee or the administrator by clicking on this email link Fair Housing Information.  Please indicate which member you would like to speak with in your message.  You may also file a complaint in person at our office in the Courthouse Annex.

Texas Fair Housing Act Fact Sheet

The Fair Housing Act/Texas Fair Housing Act (TFHA) prohibits discrimination in housing because of:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Color
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians; pregnant women and people securing custody of children under 18).

What Housing is Covered?

The Fair Housing/TFHA covers most housing. In some circumstances, the Act 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.

What is Prohibited?

In the Sale and Rental of Housing:

No one may take any of the following actions based on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, disability or familial status:

  • Refuse to rent or sell housing
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing
  • Make housing unavailable
  • Deny a dwelling
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Provide different housing services or facilities
  • Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale or rental
  • For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting) or
  • Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing

In Mortgage Lending:

No one may take any of the following actions based on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, disability or familial status:

  • Refuse to make a mortgage loan
  • Refuse to provide information regarding loans
  • Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees.
  • Discriminate in appraising property
  • Refuse to purchase a loan or
  • Set different terms of conditions for purchasing a loan

In Addition:

It is illegal for anyone to:

  • Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right.
  • Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.

Do You Have A Disability?

If you or someone associated with 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

Your landlord may not:

  • Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing. (Where reasonable, the landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move).
  • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing

Example: A building with a "no pets" policy must allow a visually impaired tenant to keep a guide dog.

Example: An apartment complex that offers tenants ample, unassigned parking must honor a request from a mobility-impaired tenant for a reserved space near their apartment if necessary to assure that they can have access to the unit.

Requirements for New Buildings:

In buildings that are ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 , and have an elevator or four or more units:

  • Public and common areas must be accessible to persons with disabilities
  • Doors and hallways must be wide enough for wheelchairs
  • All units must have:
    1. An accessible route into and through the unit
    2. Accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls
    3. Reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars and
    4. Kitchen and bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs.
  • In buildings with four or more units and no elevator that will be ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, these standards apply to ground floor units.

Housing Opportunities for Families:

Unless a building or community qualifies as housing for older persons, it may not discriminate based on familial status. That is, it may not discriminate against families in which one or more children fewer than 18 live with:

  • A parent
  • A person who has legal custody of the child or children or
  • The designees of the parent or legal custodian, with parent or custodians written permission.

Familial status protection also applies to pregnant women and anyone securing legal custody of a child under 18.

Exemption: Housing for older persons is exempt from the prohibition against familial status discrimination if:

  • It has been determined that it is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a Federal, State or local government program or
  • It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older or
  • It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates intent to house persons who are 55 or older.

A transition period permits residents on or before September 13, 1988 to continue living in the housing, regardless of their age, without interfering with the exemption.

If You Think Your Rights Have Been Violated:

The Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division (TWCCRD) is ready to help with any problem of housing discrimination. If you think your rights have been violated, you may write a letter or telephone the TWCCRD. You have one year after an alleged violation to file a complaint but you should file it as soon as possible.

What to Tell TWCCRD?

  • Your name and address
  • The name and address of the person your complaint is against (the Respondent)
  • The address or other identification of the housing involved
  • A short description of the alleged violation (the event that caused you to believe your rights were violated)
  • The date(s) of the alleged violation

Where to Write or Call?

Send a letter to the TWCCRD at:

Texas Workforce Commission                                                                                  
Civil Rights Division                                                                                   
1117 Trinity Street, Rm. 144-T                                                                                    
Austin, Texas 78701

or if you wish, you may call that office directly at 1(888) 452-4778 or 1(512) 463-2642.

If You Are Disabled:

TWCCRD also provides:

  • A TTY phone for the deaf/hearing impaired users; 1 (512) 371-7473
  • Assistance in reading and completing forms

What Happens When You File A Complaint?

TWCCRD will notify you when it receives your complaint. TWCCRD will also:

  • Notify the alleged violator of your complaint and permit that person to submit a response
  • Investigate your complaint and determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe the law had been violated

Conciliation: The TWCCRD will try to reach an agreement with the person your complaint is against (the Respondent). A conciliation agreement must protect both you and the public interest. If an agreement is signed the TWCCRD will take no further action on your complaint unless the TWCCRD has reasonable cause to believe that the conciliation agreement has been breached. The TWCCRD may then recommend that the Texas Attorney General file suit.

What Happens After A Complaint Investigation?

If, after investigating your complaint, the TWCCRD finds reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred, it will inform you. Additionally your complaint will be referred to the TWCCRD's office of General Council for additional action(s).

If, after investigating your complaint, the TWCCRD finds no reasonable cause to believe the law had been violated you will be notified in writing. Additionally, you will be informed of your right to file suit at your expense, in Federal or State District Court within two years of the alleged violation.

"Disclaimer" for FHIP Agencies

"The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a Grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government."