The Hudson family was considering relocating to Round Rock from Converse because of its close proximity to a great science program at a nearby school in Round Rock. They contacted an apartment locator and he directed them to Rock- ing Horse Ranch Apartments. After finalizing their decision to move, they decided that Rocking Horse Ranch would be a great location for their family.
On February 28, 2018, the family of six took a drive to Round Rock, Texas to get a closer look at the property. Upon arriving, they were met by a leasing agent who took them to see a model unit. Mr. and Mrs. Hudson thought that it would be great living in this particular community because it was close to schools and other resources. After careful consideration, the Hudson’s decided to apply for a three- bedroom unit.
Rocking Horse Ranch required that prospective applicants possess a personal income of at least three times the amount of the rent, a policy common to many apartment complexes in Texas. Both Mrs. Hudson and her husband were employed at the time that they applied for the apartment and their combined incomes well exceeded three times the amount of the proposed rent.
While at the leasing office, Mrs. Hudson was asked to produce her employment pay stub for leasing agent. Mr. Hudson was also asked for his employment pay stub. However, when Mr. Hudson provided the pay stub, he was told that they could not accept an out-of-state employment pay stub. They were subsequently told that because they could only consider Mrs. Hudson’s income that the family no longer qualified for the unit.
This experience led the Hudsons to feel that something was certainly not right. They simply could not under- stand why the leasing agent would not consider verifiable income merely because the address on the employment pay stub was not located in Texas.
The Hudsons suspected that they were being discriminated against based upon on their race (Black) and based upon their familial status (the presence of children under the age of 18 years living with parents or custodians).
Under the Fair Housing Act of 1964, it is prohibited to discriminate in the rent- al, sale, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin and sex. In 1988, additional protections were established to protect against discrimination based on disability or familial status, including the presence of a child under the age of 18 years as well as pregnant women.
Mrs. Hudson contacted the Austin Tenants Council, Fair Housing Program and spoke to Fair Housing Specialist Lucia Salinas. Lucia listened to the Hudson’s story and immediately be- gan assisting Mrs. Hudson in ling an administrative complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The complaint was investigated and conciliated by the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division. The Hudsons received a financial settlement for the damages that they suffered as a result of the discrimination and the staff of the property was required to complete fair housing training with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division.
Always Report Discrimination
As was the case with the Hudson family, discrimination is not always obvious to the casual observer and it may take a variety forms, many not obvious.
If you feel that you are experiencing discrimination, even if you feel un- certain if its actually discrimination, please call our telephone counseling line at: 512-474-1961. A counselor will listen to your story and refer you to our fair housing department where a fair housing specialist will respond to you within 24 - 48 hours to review the facts and determine next steps, if any.