Laws and Rules Governing Housing Programs
United States Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1437, et. seq.
Federal Regulations: 24 C.F.R.
Fair Housing Act: 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619 and W.V. Code §5-11A-1 et. seq.
West Virginia Landlord Tenant Law: W.Va. Code § 37-6-1, et. seq.
West Virginia Remedies for Unlawful Occupation of Residential Property, including information about proceedings in court: W.Va. Code § 55-3A-1 et. seq.
West Virginia case law on the “Implied Warranty of Habitability,” Teller v. McCoy, 162 W.Va. 367, 253 S.E.2d 114 (1978).

Free Online Legal Resources
The United States Code:
The Code of Federal Regulations:
West Virginia State Code:
HUD Housing Handbooks:

Free Legal Assistance or Information in West Virginia
Legal Aid of West Virginia, Inc.: or 866-255-4370
West Virginia Senior Legal Aid, Inc. (for West Virginians 60 years and older): or 800-229-5068
West Virginia Office of the Attorney General: or 800-368-8808
West Virginia Human Rights Commission: or 888-676-5546


In West Virginia, the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on nine protected classes; race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, disability, blindness and ancestry. For basic Fair Housing rights see Section One of this manual.

In addition to those basic rights, it is illegal for anyone to:

• Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others to exercise that right

• Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.

The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In some circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.

Additional Protection if you have a Disability

If you or someone associated with you:

• Have a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities

• Have a record of such a disability or

• Are regarded as having such a disability

you have the right to reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications to afford equal use and enjoyment of the dwelling.

Your landlord may not:

• Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the person with a disability to use the housing. 42 U.S.C. §3604(f)(3)(B).

• Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for the person with a disability to use the housing. The landlord may, however, where it is reasonable to do so, condition permission for a modification on the agreement of the renter to return the inside of the property to its original state. 42 U.S.C. §3604(f)(3)(A).

• Impose conditions or fees on making the accommodation or modification.

There is no legal obligation to making housing available to a person who is a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or whose tenancy would result in substantial physical damage to the property of others. 42 U.S.C. §3604(f)(9). Housing does not have to be made available to any person who is currently using illegal drugs. A direct threat cannot be based on fear, speculation, or stereotypes. It must be an individualized assessment based on reliable objective evidence, and must take into account recent intervening treatment or medication.

There are three requirements for reasonable accommodations and modifications:

1. The request is for a person with a disability as defined by the Fair Housing Act.

2. An identifiable relationship exists between the requested accommodation or modification and the person’s disability.

3. The request is reasonable; it must not

a. Impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the housing provider

b. Alter fundamentally the nature of the provider’s operations

c. Pose a direct threat on health and safety

Privacy Concerns

The housing provider may request information regarding the disability only if it is necessary to verify that the person meet’s the Act’s definition of disability. If the disability is apparent and the request is clearly related to the disability, the housing provider may not request additional information. If the disability is not apparent, the landlord may ask for “proof of disability”. The “proof” may include a statement from a friend, social service agency, or anyone who knows the person stating that they are a person with a disability, and should show the relationship between the person’s disability and the requested modification/ accommodation. The housing provider is not permitted to request medical records or detailed information. All information must be kept confidential.

How to request an accommodation or modification

There is no specific format for making a reasonable accommodation or modification request. A request may be made orally or in writing. Written requests provide documentation to support the tenant should it be denied. A housing provider may have a form to fill out, but this is not required. Requests may be made at anytime during tenancy. The tenant should give the landlord reasonable time to respond. If there is no response for an extended period of time this is considered a denial by the landlord.

This should be an interactive process between the tenant and the landlord. If the financial burden is deemed too great, the landlord should offer an alternative that would be equally effective. However, tenants are not obligated to accept an alternative offered by the landlord if it does not meet their needs and the originally requested accommodation is reasonable.

Reasonable Accommodations

A “reasonable accommodation” is a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service that may be necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common use spaces. Since rules, policies, practices, and services may have a different effect on persons with disabilities than on other persons, treating persons with disabilities exactly the same as others will sometimes deny them an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.”

See the Joint Statement of the DOJ and HUD at

• Example: A building with a “no pets” policy must allow a visually impaired tenant to keep a guide dog.

• Example: An apartment complex that offers tenants ample, unassigned parking must honor a request from a mobility-impaired tenant for a reserved space to assure access to the apartment.

If there is a cost associated with a reasonable accommodation, the housing provider is responsible for that cost. If the cost poses an undue financial burden to the housing provider, the provider may work with the tenant to find an alternative accommodation.

Reasonable Modifications

A “reasonable modification” is a structural change made to existing premises, occupied or to be occupied by a person with a disability, in order to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises. Reasonable modifications can include structural changes to interiors and exteriors of dwellings and to common and public use areas. A request for a reasonable modification may be made at any time during the tenancy. The Act makes it unlawful for a housing provider or homeowners’ association to refuse to allow a reasonable modification to the premises when such a modification may be necessary to afford persons with disabilities full enjoyment of the premises.” See the Joint Statement of the DOJ and HUD at

• Example: Because of a mobility disability, a tenant wants to install grab bars.

• Example: Because of a hearing disability, a tenant wishes to install a peephole.

• Example: Because of arthritis a tenant has impaired use of her hands and wishes to replace the doorknobs in the apartment with levers.

• Example: Because of a mobility disability, a tenant wants to install a ramp outside the building in a common area.

Note: The tenant must have landlord’s permission before making modifications.

Who pays?

The tenant must pay for modifications unless:

• Any of the structural changes needed by the tenant are ones that should have been included in the unit or public and common use area when constructed. Then the housing provider may be responsible for providing and paying for those requested structural changes. However, if the requested structural changes are not a feature of accessible design that should have already existed in the building pursuant to the design and construction requirements under the Act, then the tenant is responsible for paying for the cost of the structural changes as a reasonable modification.

• The housing receives any federal funds, then modifications would fall under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as a reasonable accommodation, and the landlord would be required to pay. More information on 504 is available at

Who maintains the new structure?

• If a modification is used exclusively by the tenant, then the tenant is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the modification.

• If the modification is made to a common area that the housing provider normally maintains, than the housing provider is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the modification.

• If the modification is made to a common area that is not normally maintained by the housing provider, then the housing provider has no responsibility under the Fair Housing Act to maintain the modification.

When tenancy ends

The housing provider may require the tenant to return the property to the original condition when moving out, if modifications were made to the interior of the dwelling and if it reasonable to do so. In general, if the modifications do not affect the housing provider’s or subsequent tenant’s use or enjoyment of the premises, the tenant cannot be required to restore the modifications to their prior state.

The tenant is not responsible for expenses associated with reasonable wear and tear.

For large modifications that need to be removed at the end of tenancy, the landlord may require the tenant establish an escrow fund to cover the costs of removing the modification.

If the next occupant of the dwelling wants to retain the modifications, then the next tenant will be responsible for returning the property to the original condition if it is reasonable to do so, and requested by the landlord.

Requirements for New Buildings

The Fair Housing Act has Design & Construction requirements for buildings ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 with four or more units:

• Accessible entrance on an accessible route

• Public and common areas must be accessible to persons with disabilities

• Doors and hallways must be wide enough for wheelchairs

• Accessible route into and through the unit

• Accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls

• Reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars

• Kitchens and bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs.

If a building with four or more units has no elevator and was ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, these standards apply to ground floor units only. If the building has an elevator, these standards apply to every unit in the building.

These requirements for new buildings do not replace any more stringent standards in state or local law. For more information on design and construction requirements see

Housing Opportunities for Families

Unless a building or community qualifies as housing for older persons, it may not discriminate based on familial status. That is, it may not discriminate against families in which one or more children under 18 live with:

• A parent

• A person who has legal custody of the child or children or

• The designee of the parent or legal custodian, with the parent or custodian’s written permission.

Familial status protection also applies to pregnant women and anyone securing legal custody of a child under 18.

Exemption: Housing for older persons is exempt from the prohibition against familial status discrimination if:

• The HUD Secretary has determined that it is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a federal, state or local government program or

• It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older or

• It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates an intent to house persons who are 55 or older.

A transition period permits residents on or before September 13, 1988, to continue living in the housing regardless of their age, without interfering with the exemption.

The purpose of these laws is to prevent discrimination on the basis of a person’s membership in a protected class. Nothing in the law forbids landlords from setting fair screening guidelines and applying them equally to all applicants.

Complaints of Fair Housing Act violations may be filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East, 12th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3380
(215) 656-0663, ext. 3260
TTY (215) 656-3450

The West Virginia Human Rights Commission
1321 Plaza East Room 108A
Charleston, WV 25301-1400
(304) 558-2616

West Virginia Fair Housing Action Network
601-3 East Brockway Ave Suite A + B
Morgantown, WV 26501

Visit the HUD website for more information on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity:



Release of Security Deposit is subject to the following:

1. Full term of lease has expired and all provisions therein complied with.

2. A full thirty (30) day notice must be given to management in writing prior to vacating the apartment for nonrenewable lease.

3. Entire apartment including range, oven, refrigerator, bathroom, closets, and cabinets must be cleaned.

4. No damage to residence beyond normal wear and tear.

5. No unpaid late charges, delinquent rent or deficiency in security deposit.

6. Forwarding address must be left with management.

7. No indentations or scratches in wood on resident floors caused by furniture or other means. Carpeting shall be in a condition showing only normal wear and tear.

8. No wall covering, stickers, scratches or large holes in walls.

9. All keys, including mail box keys, must be returned. If keys are lost, tenant must pay the cost of replacing locks.

10. All debris and discard must be placed in the proper rubbish containers in designated areas.

11. All carpeting must be vacuumed. If the carpet must be professionally cleaned, the cost will be deducted from the security deposit.

12. All screens and windows and other glass covers such as tight fixtures are to be in the condition when occupancy was taken, or replacement or repairs will be deducted from security deposit.


The security deposit will be returned by check and will be mailed to tenant’s forwarding address within 20 days after move-out . I understand and agree to the above stated provisions.

Tenant’s signature ______________________________


Tenant: _____________________________

Address: ____________________________

Move-In Date ________________________


Welcome to your new residence. We thank you for choosing to rent from us. Please check off each of the following areas of the rental unit to confirm with us that each area prior to you moving in is in satisfactory condition. If there are any areas or items that require cleaning or repairs, please note in the section designated below. Any additional notes to this list must be submitted to the management within 3 days of the date this checklist is signed and returned to the management. Thank you for your cooperation.

Satisfactory Satisfactory
Yes No Yes No
Entrance Door Bedroom #1
Peephole Ceiling
Deadbolt Lock Walls
Knocker/Bell Floors/Carpets
Living Room Windows
Ceiling Screens –Mini Blinds
Walls Light Fixtures
Floors/Carpets Bedroom #2
Windows Ceiling
Screens –Mini Blinds Walls
Light Fixtures Floors/Carpets
Dining Room or Bdrm #3 Windows
Ceiling Screens –Mini Blinds
Walls Light Fixtures
Floors/Carpets Bathroom
Windows Exhaust Fan
Screens –Mini Blinds Ceiling
Light Fixtures Walls
Kitchen Floors/Carpets
Stove Windows
Refrigerator Screens –Mini Blinds
Cabinets Light Fixtures
Sink Med. Cabinet
Counter Tops Mirror
Ceiling Sink
Walls Commode
Floors/Carpets Shower
Screens-Fixtures Porch/Balcony
Back Door Heat System
Mail Box Air Cond
Smoke Detectors Water Heater
Garage Front Yard
Garbage/Trash Pick-up Instructions Back Yard

Special Remarks (Cleaning or Repairs needed) __________________________








Was weekly garbage and trash pick-up for this unit satisfactory ______________


We hereby acknowledge that we have inspected the above-mentioned rental unit and have found everything to be in satisfactory condition except as stated otherwise. We understand that we are liable for any new damages that may occur during our occupancy. We also acknowledge that we have received ____ keys.


Tenant(s) Name(s) _____________________________________ Date _______


Owner/Manager _______________________________________ Date _______


Applicant’s Full Name____________________ Spouse’s Name___________________

Applicant’s Soc. Sec. # _____-____-_____ Spouse’s Soc. Sec. # ____-____-____

Driver’s License # ______________________ What State? _____

Present Address ________________________________________________________

Street City State Zip

How long at present address _____________ Phone Number _______________

Amount of rent currently paying ___________ Reason for Moving ____________

List last 3 landlords and phone numbers 1) __________________ ___________

2) ___________________ __________ 3) __________________ ___________

Employed by ____________________________ How long? _____________________

Position ____________ Work Phone # _________ Gross Salary Per Month _________

Total of other income per month _______________________________________

Other residents who will reside with you and their relationship to you: ____________


Do you have any pets? Yes __ No__ If yes, what kind? ____________________

In case of an emergency notify: _______________________ ____________________

Name Phone Number

Credit References 1) _______________________________________________

Bank/Credit card 2) ________________________________________________

**Personal References 1) __________________________ Phone # __________

2) __________________________ Phone # __________

**These could be Supervisors at work or non-relative friends.


I, __________________________, give _____________________ permission to


verify the information given on the application.

Applicant’s Signature


Date ___/___/___