40 Tex. Admin. Code § 819.153 - Investigation of a Complaint

Current through Reg. 46, No. 53; December 31, 2021

(a) Upon the acceptance of a complaint under this chapter, CRD shall initiate an investigation. The CRD director may initiate an investigation to determine whether a complaint should be filed under this chapter and the Texas Fair Housing Act, Subchapter E. Such investigations shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in this chapter. CRD also may invite the parties to participate in a voluntary mediation program in an effort to conciliate the dispute.
(b) The CRD director shall determine the scope and nature of the investigation within the context of the allegations set forth in the complaint.
(c) At all reasonable times in the complaint investigation, the CRD director shall have access to:
(1) necessary witnesses for examination under oath or affirmation; and
(2) records, documents, and other information relevant to the investigation of alleged violations of the Texas Fair Housing Act, for inspection and copying.
(d) Within 20 days of the acceptance of a complaint or amended complaint under this chapter, the CRD director shall serve a notice on each respondent by regular mail, or electronic communication upon agreement of the respondent. A person who is not named as a respondent in a complaint, but who is identified in the course of the investigation under the Texas Fair Housing Act, Subchapter E, and this chapter, as a person who is alleged to be engaged or to have engaged in the discriminatory housing practice upon which the complaint is based, may be joined as an additional or substitute respondent by service of a notice on the person under this section.
(e) The notice to a respondent shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) Identification of the alleged discriminatory housing practice upon which the complaint is based, and a copy of the complaint;
(2) Date that the complaint was accepted for filing;
(3) Time limits applicable to complaint processing under this chapter and the procedural rights and obligations of the respondent under the Texas Fair Housing Act, and this chapter, including the opportunity to submit an answer to the complaint within 10 days of the receipt of the notice;
(4) Complainant's right to commence a civil action under the Texas Fair Housing Act, Subchapter H, and federal law, not later than two years after the occurrence or termination of the alleged discriminatory housing practice; an explanation that the computation of the two-year period excludes any time during which an administrative hearing is pending under this chapter or the Texas Fair Housing Act, Subchapter E, with respect to a complaint or charge based on the alleged discriminatory housing practice;
(5) If the person is not named in the complaint, but is being joined as an additional or substitute respondent, an explanation of the basis for the CRD director's belief that the joined person is properly joined as a respondent;
(6) Instruction that retaliation against any person because he or she made a complaint or testified, assisted, or participated in an investigation, conciliation, or an administrative proceeding under this chapter is a discriminatory housing practice that is prohibited under the Texas Fair Housing Act;
(7) Invitation to enter into a conciliation agreement for the purpose of resolving the complaint; and
(8) Initial request for information and documentation concerning the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged discriminatory housing practice set forth in the complaint.
(f) The respondent may file an answer not later than 10 days after receipt of the notice described in this section. The respondent may assert any defense that might be available to a defendant in a court of law. The written answer shall either be signed under oath or subscribed by the person making the declaration as true under penalty of perjury and in substantially the form prescribed by Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Chapter 132, or its successor statute.
(g) An answer may be reasonably and fairly amended at any time.
(h) CRD may conduct discovery in aid of the investigation by the same methods and to the same extent that parties may conduct discovery in an administrative proceeding under the Texas Fair Housing Act, Subchapter E. The CRD director shall have the power to issue subpoenas described under the Texas Fair Housing Act, Subchapter D, in support of the investigation.
(i) As part of the complaint investigation, CRD may request information relevant to the alleged violations of the Texas Fair Housing Act. In obtaining this information, CRD may use, but is not limited to using, any of the following:
(1) Oral and video interviews and depositions;
(2) Written interrogatories;
(3) Production of documents and records;
(4) Requests for admissions;
(5) On-site inspection of respondent's facilities;
(6) Written statements or affidavits;
(7) A written statement of position or information provided by the complainant or the respondent that is either under oath or subscribed in conformity with this section regarding the allegations in the complaint; or
(8) Other forms of discovery authorized by the Administrative Procedure Act, Texas Government Code §§ 2001.081 - 2001.103, or the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
(j) CRD may establish time requirements regarding responses to requests for information relevant to an investigation of alleged violations of the Texas Fair Housing Act. The CRD director may extend such time requirements for good cause shown.
(k) CRD shall complete the initial investigation of the alleged discriminatory housing practice within 100 days of the filing of the complaint, unless it is impracticable to do so.
(l) The complaint shall remain open until a no reasonable cause determination is made, a charge is made, or a conciliation agreement is executed and approved under this chapter and the Texas Fair Housing Act, Subchapter E.
(m) At the end of each investigation under this chapter, CRD shall prepare a final investigative report. The investigative report shall contain:
(1) the names and dates of contacts with witnesses. The report shall not disclose the names of witnesses that request anonymity; however, the names of such witnesses may be required to be disclosed in the course of an administrative hearing or a civil action;
(2) a summary and the dates of correspondence and other contacts with the complainant and the respondent;
(3) a summary description of other pertinent records;
(4) a summary of witness statements; and
(5) answers to interrogatories.
(n) A final investigative report may be amended if additional evidence is discovered.
(o) CRD shall provide a summary of the final determination and shall make available the full investigative report to the complainant and the respondent.

Notes

40 Tex. Admin. Code § 819.153
The provisions of this §819.153 adopted to be effective September 27, 2005, 30 TexReg 6065; amended to be effective June 16, 2014, 39 TexReg 4659; Amended by Texas Register, Volume 41, Number 31, July 29, 2016, TexReg 5564, eff. August 1, 2016

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