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§16-15-17. Policy of state as to rentals.

(a) It is hereby declared to be the policy of this state that each housing authority shall manage and operate its housing developments in an efficient manner so as to enable it to fix the rentals, leases or purchase prices for dwellings at the lowest possible rates consistent with its providing decent, safe and sanitary dwellings, and that no housing authority shall construct or operate any development for profit, or as a source of revenue to the city or county.

(b) It is the goal of this state to provide access to decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing to its residents. The benefits of this article are not a matter of right, but of privilege. Persons accepting assistance under this article shall, by such acceptance thereof, recognize their responsibilities to the housing authorities providing such assistance and to other persons living in their vicinity. Persons accepting benefits are responsible for their own conduct and for the actions of other members of their households and of their guests. Housing authorities may impose and enforce occupancy standards and requirements to prohibit any criminal or other activity which threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises or development by other residents. If eviction or lease termination are possible outcomes of the housing authority's enforcement of its occupancy standards, unless federal law or regulation provides otherwise, in any eviction or lease termination proceeding, there must be a finding of either: (1) The tenant's participation in; or (2) the tenant's knowledge of the participation of a member of the tenant's household or a tenant's guest in, criminal activities or other activities which threaten the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises or development by other residents. Unless, otherwise provided by federal law or regulation, any act done by a guest or member of a tenant's household is presumed to be known to the tenant. This presumption may be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence that the tenant could not reasonably have known that the act would occur or that the tenant took reasonable measures to prevent the act from occurring. In all cases of eviction or lease termination, the housing authority shall consider all circumstances surrounding the individual eviction, including the seriousness of the offense, extent of participation by household members, and effect of eviction on household members not involved. In appropriate cases, housing authorities may allow the tenant and the members of his or her household to remain. Even if there is no finding of knowledge, the tenant may be required to: (1) Prohibit any guest from visiting; and (2) remove any member of the household from the unit, if that individual participated in criminal activities or other activities which threaten the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises or development by other residents.

(c) An authority shall provide housing, rental, and other assistance to persons of low and moderate income, and assistance to properties and entities, in accordance with the provisions of this article, and, subject to standards and procedures adopted by the housing authority, to authorize the provision by housing authorities of supportive services and programs of every kind and description to advance the social, educational, and economic well-being and the economic and social self-sufficiency of persons receiving housing assistance under this article, so as to create wholesome living environments, eliminate long-term poverty, encourage gainful employment, develop social and economic self-sufficiency (including living independently of housing assistance), and enhance personal responsibility on the part of such persons;

(d) Housing authorities shall encourage the use of entrepreneurial methods and approaches and to stimulate and increase private sector initiatives and joint public-private sector initiatives by housing authorities in carrying out the purposes and provisions of this article.

(e) Housing authorities shall endeavor to increase the availability, from both public and private sector sources, of financing for the purchase of dwellings, and the financing for home improvements, and repairs for persons of low or moderate income; and to further endeavor to increase the availability of sources of equity and other financing for the development and operation by housing authorities and private sector entities of decent, safe, and sanitary rental housing that is affordable to persons of low and moderate income.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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