Housing

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TRLA's Housing Group protects the rights of low-income tenants and homeowners with the aim of keeping them in their homes and reducing the number of people forced into homelessness. Attorneys in this group represent and advocate for clients dealing with multiple legal and administrative matters and work on the following teams:

Fred Fuchs, Group Coordinator

Fair housing

The Fair Housing Team represents individuals and families facing illegal discrimination in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. The team’s mission is to ensure that landlords, lenders, and government entities comply with the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, disability, and national origin. The team uses the reasonable accommodation provision of the Fair Housing Act to prevent evictions of people with disabilities and help them access affordable housing programs. 

Nelson Mock, Team Manager

Federally Subsidized Housing

The mission of the Federally Subsidized Housing Team is to protect the rights and benefits of people living in public housing or trying to access it though various programs including: the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program; the VASH Voucher Program; Project-based Section 8 housing; Rural Rental Housing; Continuum of Care Housing; Shelter+Care Housing, HOPWA; Supportive Housing for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities; Section 811 Project Rental Assistance; HOME-funded housing; and housing funded through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

Services & Activities

  • Assisting clients and client groups in preserving affordable housing stock;

  • Defense of people who face eviction or proposed termination of their voucher assistance;

  • Defense against proposed terminations of project-based rental assistance;

  • Challenging denials of admission to subsidized housing programs;

  • Representing clients in administrative hearings with public housing authorities;

  • Challenging arbitrary landlord rules and policies that violate federal law or regulations;

  • Ensuring that the law is followed in rent calculations by public housing authorities and federally subsidized landlords;

  • Challenging substandard housing conditions or lack of repairs;

  • Representing tenant groups;

  • Representing neighborhood nonprofit organizations that develop and manage affordable housing.

The team also enforces tenant and applicant rights under federal housing laws that govern various federal housing programs, rights under the Fair Housing Act, and protections under the Violence Against Women Housing Act (VAWA).

Fred Fuchs, Team Manager

Home Foreclosure Prevention

The mission of the Home Foreclosure Prevention Team is to protect the homes of low-income people, which are often their most important assets and a means of providing for their families. The team represents and advises people and families who are facing home foreclosure sales caused by:

  • Wraparound mortgage scams;

  • Home-equity loan noncompliance;

  • Reverse mortgage servicing and origination;

  • Tax lender servicing or origination violations;

  • Home Owner Association (HOA) practices;

  • FHA, VA, RHS, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and conventional loan practices;

  • Violations of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations;

  • Other fraudulent or predatory practices.

Due to limited resources, TRLA cannot accept every case that has merit. The foreclosure prevention team also provides advice, sample forms, and, when appropriate, other limited services.

Molly Rogers, Team Manager

Homeless Prevention

The mission of the Homeless Prevention team is to keep individuals and families in their homes, regardless of whether those are their own houses or rentals, by preventing evictions and foreclosures. The team defends people facing eviction and challenges predatory lending policies that result in foreclosures and loss of homes. The team's work overlaps with the work of the Home Foreclosure Team and the Private Landlord-Tenant Issues Team.

Veronica Carbajal, Team Manager

Manufactured Homes

The first priority of the Manufactured Housing Team is to prevent homelessness when homeowners or renters are on the verge of losing titles or possession of their homes.

Services & Activities

  • Prevent evictions and foreclosures with appropriate litigation;

  • Help manufactured homeowners avoid losing ownership in foreclosure cases;

  • Help manufactured homeowners keep their homes when they are being evicted from rented lots;

  • Help obtain title to homes in cases of deception or negligence;

  • Help homeowners file complaints with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs-Manufactured Housing Division (TDHCA-MHD) in warranty or unlicensed activity cases.

Raul Noriega, Team Manager

Mental Health

The Mental Health Team represents people with mental health disabilities in both disability and housing cases. With respect to disability cases, the team represents individuals who have been denied Social Security and Supplemental Security Income or who face a reduction in disability benefits on the appeal of the denial or reduction in benefits. With respect to housing cases, the team represents individuals who are threatened with eviction from both private housing and federally subsidized housing because of conduct related to their disabilities. The team also represents individuals when behavior related to their disabilities results in denial of public and Section 8 housing or threatens their Section 8 housing or VASH vouchers. Finally, team members also serve as primary points of contact for mental health providers and related agencies in the community and as liaisons to build collaborative networks with area agencies that serve the needs of the mentally ill.

Lourdes Flores, Team Manager

Private Landlord-Tenant

The Private Landlord-Tenant Team focuses primarily on ensuring that tenants living in private housing, especially multi-family housing, are not illegally evicted in violation of their leases and Texas law on the eviction process. The team also enforces tenant rights with respect to the Fair Housing Act and the provisions set forth in chapters 91 and 92 of the Texas Property Code. In particular, this includes provisions relating to landlord retaliation, repairs, late fee limitations, early lease termination because of domestic violence, stalking, or military deployment, and provisions regarding tenant rights after catastrophes such as hurricanes, fires, and tornadoes. The team provides legal representation to individuals and families who are having difficulty accessing private housing because of discriminatory landlord policies. The team also ensures that tenants in homes that have been foreclosed upon are safeguarded by the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act and not evicted, which would violate the law.

Nelson Mock, Team Manager

Real Property Tax Foreclosures

The Tax Foreclosure-Real Property Team defends individuals and families who face loss of their homesteads in tax foreclosure lawsuits because of their inability to pay property taxes. The team defends clients using provisions of the Texas law that allow people who are over 65 or disabled to defer property taxes until their death. It also helps other homeowners negotiate installment payment plans with taxing entities to avoid foreclosures and to prevent homelessness.

Ignacio Treviño, Team Manager