Update: Texas Bans Cities from Requiring Owners to Participate in Section 8

In the July issue on fair housing requirements in the nation’s largest cities, the Coach emphasized the importance of keeping track of changes to state and local fair housing laws. In Austin, Texas, for example, local lawmakers adopted an ordinance banning discrimination based on source of income, including Section 8 housing vouchers. Despite ongoing litigation, the ordinance had taken effect earlier this year, but Texas lawmakers appear to have put a stop to it with a new state law that prohibits cities from requiring property owners to participate in the Section 8 housing program.

On June 22, 2015, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed S.B. 267 into law, effectively banning source-of-income ordinances that require property owners to participate in the federal government’s Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as Section 8, according to the Texas Apartment Association. Lawmakers were asked to consider the issue after Austin passed a source-of-income ordinance and the City of Dallas signed an agreement with HUD to consider a similar law.  

“The Texas Apartment Association has worked diligently throughout the state to promote housing opportunities for all Texans through education, communication, and voluntary incentive-based programs,” George B. Allen, Executive Vice President of the Texas Apartment Association, said in a statement. “Many of our members provide housing under the Housing Choice Voucher program (Section 8), and our industry has supported continued funding for local housing authorities that administer the voucher program.” 

“Our opposition to the Source of Income Ordinance in Austin was always based on the specific requirements and burdensome expenses and red tape associated with participation by property owners in the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program,” added Robbie Robinson, president of the Austin Apartment Association. “We are ready to continue to work with the City of Austin and other interested parties to develop and implement additional voluntary, incentive-based programs that expand housing choices without placing a financial burden on property owners.”

For more details about local fair housing requirements, see the July issue of Fair Housing Coach, “The Top 30: Fair Housing Requirements in the Nation’s Larges Cities," available to our subscribers here