Insurance & Real Estate Law

Texas Occupancy and “Newborn” Policy Established by TCHR

TCHR (The Texas Commission on Human Rights) has established a policy for the total number of persons per bedroom for owners of rental property.

A newborn policy for rental owners was also established by TCHR. The policies are in effect and enforceable as of May 1, 1995.

Occupancy Policy

The occupancy policy specifies that a family may rent or lease an owners house if the family does not exceed a specified number of individuals per bedroom. The restriction is two persons per bedroom.

In addition to this, a child (less than six months old) can sleep in the same bedroom as the parents, legal custodian, guardian or any person applying for that status.

The housing owner can observe a liberal occupancy policy than the one specified above as per her/his discretion. If the owner has a more restrictive occupancy policy, it can be considered unreasonable. This is a breach of the fair housing laws.

Newborn Policy

The newborn policy has been specifically devised to provide homeowners with a standard guideline for dealing with newborn children.

The policy specifies:

  • if the residents have a newborn (less than six months old) at the time of lease renewal or rental application and
  • residents whose newborn has attained six months of age (during the lease period) may have to move out.

The residents can also choose to move into a bigger house (with more bedrooms) provided by the house owner.

The rent for the bigger house or apartment will be the rental rate at the time the rental agreement or lease is entered into for the larger house.

The housing owner can choose to have a more lenient newborn policy. A more restrictive policy will be considered unreasonable. This can also be a breach of the fair housing laws.

Written Disclosure

The house owner is not required to give a written disclosure about the newborn policy to the tenants. Even though it is not required, it is advisable to do so as it offers protection to the owner. The protection is in the event of a discrepancy over the occupancy policy.

The newborn policy does not allow the owners to discriminate against families with children. The owner can restrict the number of people living in a dwelling. The reasonable number is two individuals per bedroom.

The exception to the two individuals per bedroom is when the bedrooms are extra-large, and the configuration and overall size enable more than two people to live comfortably. The age of children needs to be considered when more than two individuals per bedroom is allowed.

The occupancy standards need to be consistent and in writing so that it is easy to enforce them. The prospective tenants need to be told about the occupancy and newborn policy as soon as possible in the leasing process.

It is advisable to make the policy a part of the lease or the rental agreement. This can help avoid misinterpretations by the prospective tenants.

For more information on the Texas Occupancy and “Newborn” Policy established by TCHR contact one of the most reputable property management companies Pyramis Company today!