Insurance & Real Estate Law

Texas Occupancy and “Newborn” Policy Established by TCHR

The Texas Commission on Human Rights (TCHR) has established a Maximum-Persons-Per-Bedroom occupancy policy for owners of rental property. TCHR has also established a Newborn Policy for rental housing owners. In both cases, the TCHR policies are in effect and enforceable as of May 1, 1995.

In essence, the Maximum-Persons-Per-Bedroom policy states that:

“A family may occupy an owner’s dwelling if the family does not exceed two persons per bedroom plus a child who is less than 6 months old and who sleeps in the same bedroom as the child’s parent, guardian, legal custodian, or person applying for that status.”

According to TCHR, a more liberal occupancy policy than that stated above may be adopted by a rental housing owner at the owner’s discretion. However, a more restrictive occupancy-per-bedroom policy will be presumed to be unreasonable and will be a violation of fair housing laws.

The Newborn Policy is designed to provide rental housing owners with a standard policy for dealing with newborn children. The policy states that:

“Residents who have a newborn less than 6 months old at the time of rental application or lease renewal and residents whose newborn has reached 6 months of age during the lease term may be required, at that time, to either (1) move into another available dwelling of the owner which has more bedrooms, or (2) move out. Rent for the larger dwelling may be the rental rate at the time the lease or rental agreement is entered into for the larger dwelling.”

A rental property owner may choose to establish a more lenient newborn policy. However, a more restrictive newborn policy will be presumed to be unreasonable and a violation of the fair housing laws.

While an owner is not required to adopt or give written disclosure of a newborn policy, to do so will provide some protection for the owner in the event of a discrepancy over occupancy policy.

For more information on the effects of the new TCHR policies on San Antonio rental properties, contact Craig Acord, at (210) 593-9807.