Section 8 and HOAs: How the New Texas Legislation on Section 8 Housing Impacts San Antonio Homeowner Associations
Overview of the Legislation
(Author's note: I am neither a lawyer nor attempting to practice law or give legal advice.)
The new Texas law marks a pivotal change for homeowner associations (HOAs) in San Antonio and all over Texas, as it prohibits discrimination against tenants using Section 8 housing vouchers. This legislation is a statewide response to a growing need for inclusive housing practices alongside a growing trend of HOAs creating community rules that exclude recipients of Section 8 Housing vouchers used to pay rent.
This legislation aims to ensure that individuals and families using Section 8 housing vouchers are not unfairly denied access to housing in HOA communities solely based on their source of income.
Why this Legislation is Important
The Fair Housing Act of 1968, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
While federal law does not prohibit discrimination based on source of income, many states have enacted further protections to do precisely that.
Texas now joins them with the new law passed in September 2023, which prohibits HOAs from banning Section 8 rental voucher recipients.
This new legislation will help level the playing field for individuals and families using Section 8 housing vouchers, who often face significant barriers when finding suitable housing.
Impact on San Antonio HOAs
San Antonio is home to a large number of HOA communities, but it is not known how many local HOAs had bans or similar prohibitive clauses written into their communities' bylaws.
Any rules or bylaws that were on the books are now unenforceable.
Under this law, HOAs cannot enforce rules prohibiting or restricting the use of Section 8 vouchers for rental payments. Furthermore, HOAs cannot deny a tenant's right to renew their lease based on their use of Section 8 housing assistance. This means that individuals and families using Section 8 vouchers now have more options when it comes to finding suitable housing in San Antonio's HOA communities.
Section 8 Housing Vouchers Explained
Section 8 housing vouchers are essential for many low-income families, elderly individuals, and those with disabilities, providing them with an opportunity to afford decent and safe housing. By allowing recipients to choose their housing within specific guidelines, the program offers flexibility and a sense of empowerment in selecting a home.
However, due to the stigma surrounding Section 8 housing and the misconceptions that landlords may have about it, recipients often face difficulties finding suitable housing options.
Some have related the now-banned HOA policies to modern-day redlining, the act of denying lending or insurance services to people based on their race or ethnic origin, which has been banned by the Fair Housing Act since 1968.
The new legislation is a step forward, aiming to break down these barriers and ensure fair housing practices for all Section 8 recipients, regardless of race.
This new legislation is a positive step towards promoting fair housing practices in San Antonio and all across Texas, ensuring all individuals have access to suitable housing options regardless of their source of income.
As we move forward, HOAS must revise their policies and practices to align with the new law. Tenants must also educate themselves on their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act to ensure they are not unfairly denied access to housing in HOA communities. We can create more inclusive and welcoming communities in San Antonio and throughout Texas by working together.
If you have questions about this legislation or any other issues that may impact your HOA community, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss them with you.
Please get in touch with me here or reach out to me directly using my contact info below.
Owner, PMI Profit Realty