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RULE §1.2Department Complaint Process

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to establish the procedures by which complaints are filed with the Department and how the Department handles those complaints under Department jurisdiction in compliance with Tex. Gov't Code §2306.066, Tex. Gov't Code, Chapter 2105, Subchapter C, and 24 CFR §91.115(h),as applicable.

(b) Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

  (1) Complainant--A Person filing a Complaint.

  (2) Complaint--A complaint submitted to the Department in writing (via mailed letter, fax, email, or submitted online through the Department website) from a person that believes the Department has the authority to resolve the issue.

  (3) Complaint Coordinator--Department employee designated by the Executive Director or their designee to monitor the Public Complaint System and coordinate activities related to complaints.

  (4) Complaint Liaison--the Department employee(s) designated by each division or program to handle each division or program's complaint-related issues.

  (5) Department--The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

  (6) Person--Any individual, other than an employee of the Department, and any partnership, corporation, association, governmental subdivision, or public or private organization of any character.

  (7) Public Complaint System--Department-created system used to track complaints received by the Department.

(c) Applicability. Except as specifically adopted in whole or in part by rule or contractual provision this rule is not applicable to:

  (1) consumer complaints relating to manufactured housing which are alternatively addressed by §80.73 of this title relating to Manufactured Housing Procedures for Handling Consumer Complaints; and

  (2) Complaints filed in association with temporary Department programs for which a separate Complaint process has been established.

(d) Procedures.

  (1) Complaint Submission. A Person who has a Complaint may submit such Complaint in writing to the Department, which will be directed to a Complaint Coordinator. If an accommodation because of a disability is needed in relation to the process of filing of a Complaint, the Person interested in filing the Complaint should refer to 10 TAC §1.1, Reasonable Accommodation Requests to the Department; if assistance is needed for non-English speaking persons, the Person interested in filing the Complaint should access the Department's Language Assistance webpage (https://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/lap.htm).

  (2) Upon receipt of a Complaint:

    (A) A Complaint Coordinator will enter the complaint in the Public Complaint System.

    (B) A Complaint Coordinator will review the Complaint and as needed, forward the Complaint to the appropriate program or division Complaint Liaison(s).

    (C) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this subsection, in the case of Complaints received by the Department in which no method of contacting the Complainant was provided, the Complaint Coordinator will close the Complaint in the Public Complaint System and provide a copy of the Complaint to the applicable program or division for informational purposes only.

    (D) A Complaint Coordinator may also identify whether a Complaint received involves a potential Reasonable Accommodation request involving a Department recipient or property; in such cases the Complaint will be handled as provided for in §1.204 of this chapter relating to Reasonable Accommodations.

    (E) Complaints that have potential Fair Housing Act violations may, at the Department's discretion, be also referred to the Texas Workforce Commission's Civil Rights Division.

    (F) The Department will notify the Complainant of the status of the Complaint at least quarterly until there is a disposition of the Complaint, which is the final determination; there is no further process available, except as otherwise provided in state or federal law.

  (3) A Complaint Liaison will research and evaluate the issues identified in the Complaint, and then resolve and close the Complaint. The Complaint Liaison will enter in the Public Complaint System summaries of each contact made with the Complainant and any actions taken leading to complaint resolution.

  (4) The Complaint Coordinator may submit periodic summary reports or analysis to the Executive Director or designee.

  (5) The Department will provide to the Person filing the Complaint, and to each Person who is a subject of the Complaint (to the extent contact information is available), a link to this rule, which serves as the Department's policy and procedures relating to complaint investigation and resolution.

  (6) The Department will either notify the Complainant of the resolution of the Complaint within 15 business days after the date the Complaint was received by the Department, or notify the Complainant, within such period, of the date the Complainant can expect a response to the Complaint.

  (7) Additional Complaints submitted by the same Complainant describing an issue which has previously been closed, had a final resolution, and for which there is no substantively new information presented, will be considered resolved by the Department. A letter to this effect will be sent to the Complainant by the Department. In such cases, a new Complaint will not be opened in the system.

  (8) An information file about each Complaint will be maintained. The file must include:

    (A) the Complaint number;

    (B) the name of the Complainant;

    (C) the date the Complaint was received by the Department;

    (D) the subject matter of the Complaint;

    (E) the name of each Person contacted in relation to the Complaint, if applicable;

    (F) a summary of the results of the review of the Complaint;

    (G) the date the Complaint was closed; and

    (H) an explanation of the final resolution of the Complaint including the reason the file was closed.

  (9) A Complaint may be withdrawn by the Complainant at any time.

  (10) A Complainant may request and receive from the Department copies of any documentation or records collected by the Department with regard to the Complaint, subject to the Texas Public Information Act.

  (11) Adherence to these procedures is not required by the Department if another procedure is required by law, or if the following of a procedure above would jeopardize an audit or Government investigation.

Source Note: The provisions of this §1.2 adopted to be effective May 8, 2022, 47 TexReg 2510

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