Texas law regarding accessibility and housing discrimination offers no additional protections beyond federal law.
Who do I contact if my accessible parking rights are infringed in Texas?
If your landlord or employer isn’t providing enough accessible parking, we encourage to use the forms on our Resources page to request that they add more. This is usually the first step in straightening out any accessible parking problem.
If that doesn’t get you anywhere, then the likely outcome of filing an accessible parking complaint with the state of Texas should not differ from filing the same complaint with HUD. However, HUD can choose to refer federal complaints to state agencies, or you may find it more convenient to work with a state office located closer to you than the nearest HUD offices. Housing discrimination complaints in Texas (for example, if you have a valid placard but your landlord refuses to supply accessible parking) are handled by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). However, if you live in the cities of Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, or Garland, you must file with the local agencies in those cities.
Claims must be filed within 365 days of the initial incident, and the first step is to fill out the TWC complaint form, which you can submit by email at [email protected] here. The complaint forms used in the cities are slightly different, but based on the same document. Initial complaints for Austin can be submitted online or by phone. Corpus Christi uses an electronically submittable form that can also be printed and mailed or faxed to their offices. Complaints in Dallas are handled by the City Hall Fair Housing Office, which provides a form (pdf) that can be emailed, or printed and mailed or faxed. The City of Garland uses a very brief online form and can also be contacted at their offices. If you live in Fort Worth, you should contact the Community Relations Office by telephone (817-392-7525).
Though the details may vary slightly among these different agencies, the overall process will be similar. Once you file an initial complaint, an investigator will contact you to determine if their office has authority in the matter, and they will ask you for an offer that would resolve the dispute in order to bring the parties to a voluntary settlement. If there is reasonable cause to believe housing law has been violated, and no settlement is reached, the complaint will be co-filed with HUD, and an investigation continues to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe the law was violated. If reasonable cause exists, the agency will forward its final report to the relevant authority (i.e., the Texas Attorney General) for a final determination of your case.
Note that Texas does not appear to use the trial-like administrative process that most states use, in which you have a public hearing. You should have ample opportunity to make your case to the investigator, whose final report and recommendation is much like that issued by administrative courts. However, this may be a consideration in choosing whether to file a complaint versus initiating a civil lawsuit in court (which you must do within two years of the discriminatory incident). If your claim is not accepted, or if you are unsatisfied with the result, you will be able to appeal it in court.
The state and local fair housing offices in Texas do not provide legal advice, but you can contact them by phone to be directed towards organizations that do provide legal advice and representation. A more complete list of local agencies can be found here, and at this site (along with some non-profit aid organizations). You can find local legal aid in Texas from TexasLawHelp.org, and you may also find help via the North Texas Fair Housing Center, and through tenant’s rights organizations in some cities.
The information contained in these pages is for informational purposes only, and it’s no substitute for legal counsel.