The Fair Housing Ordinance applies to most housing within the city limits of Austin. In some circumstances, the ordinance 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 limited to members.

Fair Housing Ordinance

The ordinance, which was declared "substantially equivalent" to federal and state laws, was passed by City Council.

After the ordinance was passed, the City of Austin Equal Employment/Fair Housing Office (EE/FHO) entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to conduct housing discrimination investigations and conciliations.

View the City of Austin's Housing Ordinance (City Code Chapter 5-1) .

EE/FHO staff members will investigate complaints of housing discrimination based on:

  • Race or Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • Disability
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity
  • Status as a Student

When based on a category listed above, examples of prohibited actions include:

  • Refusal to rent or sell housing
  • Refusal to negotiate for housing
  • Setting different terms, conditions or privileges for the sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Falsely denying that housing is available for inspection/sale/rental

Similar prohibitions apply to mortgage lending. It is also illegal for anyone to threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with an individual exercising a fair housing right.

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

  • Refuse to make a mortgage loan
  • Refuse to provide information regarding loans
  • Discriminate in appraising property
  • Refuse to purchase a loan
  • Set different terms or 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, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single family and owner occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Ordinance.

Fair Housing: It's the Law (PDF files)

To file a complaint:

Housing Discrimination Information Form (903)