Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 13: Public Planning and Housing

Chapter 20: Housing Authorities

Part 1: General Provisions

TCA 13-20-104: Powers of housing authority.

(a) An authority has the power to:

(1) Investigate into living, dwelling and housing conditions and into the means and methods of improving such conditions;

(2) Determine where unsafe, or unsanitary dwelling or housing conditions exist;

(3) Study and make recommendations, in cooperation with any city, municipal or regional planning commission, concerning the plan of any city or municipality located within its boundaries in relation to the problem of clearing, replanning and reconstruction of areas in which unsafe, or unsanitary dwelling or housing conditions exist, and concerning provisions for dwelling accommodations for persons of low income;

(4) Prepare, carry out and operate housing projects;

(5) Provide for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, improvement, alteration or repair of any housing project or any part thereof by direct sponsorship of the authority, by the purchase of a mortgage or by the making of a mortgage loan to a not-for-profit entity or corporation. In the event it becomes necessary for an authority to issue bonds for the obtaining of capital to purchase a mortgage or the making of a mortgage loan as provided for in this section, the bond issue shall first be approved by ordinance or resolution of the local governing body;

(6) Own, operate, assist, or otherwise participate in one (1) or more mixed-finance projects to provide for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, improvement, alteration or repair of any housing project or any part thereof. An authority may provide capital assistance, operating assistance and financing assistance to a mixed-finance project in the form of a grant, loan, guaranty, collateralization or other form of investment in the project, or other form of public or private borrowings, for the construction or rehabilitation of a housing project;

(7) Take over by purchase, lease or otherwise any housing project located within its boundaries undertaken by any government, or by any city or municipality located in whole or in part within its boundaries;

(8) Manage as agent of any city or municipality located in whole or in part within its boundaries any housing project constructed or owned by such city;

(9) Act as agent for the federal government in connection with the acquisition, construction, operation and/or management of a housing project or any part thereof;

(10) Arrange with any city or municipality located in whole or in part within its boundaries or with a government for the furnishing, replanning, installing, opening or closing of streets, roads, roadways, alleys, sidewalks or other places or facilities;

(11) Arrange for the acquisition by such city, municipality, or government of property, option or property rights;

(12) Arrange for the furnishing of property or services in connection with a project;

(13) Arrange with the state, its subdivisions and agencies, and any county, city or municipality of the state, to the extent that it is within the scope of each of their respective functions:

(A) Cause the services customarily provided by each of them to be rendered for the benefit of such housing authority and/or the occupants of any housing projects;

(B) Provide and maintain parks and sewerage, water and other facilities adjacent to or in connection with housing projects; and

(C) Change the city or municipality map, to plan, replan, zone or rezone any part of the city or municipality;

(14) Lease or rent any of the dwellings or other accommodations or any of the lands, buildings, structures or facilities embraced in any housing project and to establish and revise the rents or charges therefor;

(15) Enter upon any building or property in order to conduct investigations or to make surveys or soundings;

(16) Purchase, lease, obtain options upon, acquire by gift, grant, bequest, devise, or otherwise, any property, real or personal or any interest therein from any person, firm, corporation, city, municipality, or government;

(17) Acquire by eminent domain any real property, including improvements and fixtures thereon except as provided in § 13-20-105;

(18) Sell, exchange, transfer, assign, or pledge any property, real or personal or any interest therein to any person, firm, corporation, municipality, city, or government;

(19) Own, hold, clear and improve property;

(20) Insure or provide for the insurance of the property or operations of the authority against such risks as the authority may deem advisable;

(21) Procure insurance or guarantees from the federal government of the payment of any debts or parts thereof secured by mortgages made or held by the authority on any property included in any housing project;

(22) Borrow money upon its bonds, notes, debentures, or other evidences of indebtedness and secure the same by pledges of its revenues, and, subject to the limitations hereinafter imposed, by mortgages upon property held or to be held by it, or in any other manner;

(23) In connection with any loan, agree to limitations upon its right to dispose of any housing project or part thereof or undertake additional housing projects;

(24) In connection with any loan by a government, agree to limitations upon the exercise of any powers conferred upon the authority by this chapter;

(25) Invest any funds held in reserve or sinking funds, or any funds not required for immediate disbursement, in property or securities in which savings banks may legally invest funds subject to their control;

(26) Sue and be sued;

(27) Have a seal and alter the same at pleasure;

(28) Have a perpetual succession;

(29) Make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of the powers of the authority;

(30) Make and from time to time amend and repeal bylaws, rules and regulations not inconsistent with this chapter;

(31) Conduct examinations and investigations and hear testimony and take proof under oath at public or private hearings on any matter material for its information;

(32) Issue subpoenas requiring the attendance of witnesses for the production of books and papers and to issue commissions for the examination of witnesses who are out of the state or unable to attend before the authority, or are excused from attendance;

(33) Make available to such agencies, boards or commissions as are charged with the duty of abating or requiring the correction of nuisance or like conditions, or of demolishing unsafe or unsanitary structures within its territorial limits, its findings and recommendations with regard to any building or property where conditions exist which are dangerous to the public health, morals, safety or welfare;

(34) Provide consulting services to housing authorities outside the housing authority's territorial jurisdiction;

(35) Enter into management contracts with other authorities outside the authority's territorial jurisdiction, which provide for the management of all or any part of the operations of an authority or all or any part of a housing project or a mixed-finance project of an authority; and

(36) Enter into agreements with municipalities under which the authority agrees to exercise any or all powers of an authority under this chapter relating to redevelopment or urban renewal projects for such municipality with respect to one (1) or more redevelopment or urban renewal projects, including, but not limited to, holding public hearings, preparing redevelopment and urban renewal plans and managing redevelopment projects; provided, however, that all debt related to such redevelopment projects must be issued by the housing authority for the jurisdiction subject to the agreement and the housing authority for the jurisdiction subject to the agreement must consent to such agreement by resolution. Any municipality may enter into an agreement described in this subsection (a).

(b) Any of the investigations or examinations provided for in this chapter may be conducted by the authority or by a committee appointed by it, consisting of one (1) or more commissioners, or by counsel, or by an officer or employee specially authorized by the authority to conduct it. Any commissioner, counsel for the authority, or any persons designated by it to conduct an investigation or examination shall have power to administer oaths, take affidavits and issue subpoenas or commissions. An authority may exercise any or all of the powers herein conferred upon it, either generally or with respect to a specific housing project or projects through or by an agent or agents which it may designate, including any corporations which are or shall be formed under the laws of this state, and for such purposes, an authority may cause one (1) or more corporations to be formed under the laws of this state or may acquire the capital stock of any corporation or corporations. All housing project property owned by a corporate agent of a housing authority is subject to the control of and is deemed to be property of the housing authority. Any corporate agent may, to the extent permitted by law, exercise any of the powers herein conferred upon the authority. For purposes of this subsection (b), "corporation" shall include both for-profit corporations and nonprofit corporations.

(c) In addition to all of the other powers herein conferred upon it, an authority may do all things necessary and convenient to carry out the purposes and provisions of this chapter. No provisions with respect to the acquisition, operation or disposition of property by other public bodies shall be applicable to an authority unless the general assembly shall specifically so state.

(d) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this chapter or in any other provision of law, an authority may include, in any contract let in connection with a project, stipulations requiring that the contractor and any subcontractor comply with requirements as to minimum wages and maximum hours of labor, and comply with any conditions which the federal government may have attached to its financial aid of the project.

(e) (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this chapter or in any other provision of law, an authority shall not initiate any public housing project under this chapter or any other provision of law until the governing body, or agency designated by it or empowered by law to act, of each city or municipality, in which any of the area to be covered by the project is situated in a representative district thereof, has approved the proposed public housing project plan, which provides an outline for the development, construction, lease, or purchase of the proposed housing project and is sufficiently complete to indicate its relationship to definite local objectives of appropriate land use and providing decent, safe, and sanitary housing for persons of low income.

(2) Such cities or municipalities are hereby authorized to approve public housing project plans through their governing body or agency designated by it for that purpose.

(A) The governing body shall not approve a public housing project plan until after a public hearing has been held by the governing body, or the agency designated by it or empowered by law so to act, to determine the necessity for the adoption of the public housing project proposal. Notice of the public hearing shall be given, by publishing once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks immediately preceding the public hearing in a newspaper of general circulation published in the city or municipality, providing notice of the time, place, and purpose of the public hearing and identifying at least two (2) locations, one (1) of which shall be the offices of the authority, where a map of the area to be included in the proposed public housing project, with the streets or other lines marking the boundaries of the area clearly indicated, may be reviewed by interested persons; and

(B) The failure to give the notice required in subdivision (e)(2)(A) may be asserted only by an owner having interest in property or an occupant of a business or dwelling unit thirty (30) days prior to the date of public hearing within the representative district in which a public housing project, as authorized pursuant to this chapter, both under the public or private acts, is proposed to be developed, constructed, leased, or purchased as a cause of action on the trial of the issue of the right of the housing authority to develop, construct, lease, or purchase the public housing project, and such failure to give notice as required in subdivision (e)(2)(A) constitutes a cause of action unless, in the judgment of the court trying such issue, there has been compliance with subdivision (e)(2)(A).

(3) For purposes of this subsection (e), "public housing project" shall mean housing units that are subject to a housing authority's annual contribution contract with the United States department of housing and urban development.

(f) (1) "Low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) property" means low-income housing property restricted under government regulations pursuant to § 42 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, codified in 26 U.S.C. § 42, the low-income housing tax credit program.

(2) Upon the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of its governing body, the city or county for which a housing authority is created may delegate to such housing authority the authority to negotiate and accept payments in lieu of ad valorem taxes from the housing authority's lessees operating LIHTC property; provided, however, that such authorization shall be granted only upon a finding that such payments are deemed to be in furtherance of the housing authority's public purposes. The housing authority shall submit each such agreement to the city or county legislative body of all affected taxing jurisdictions for approval.

(3) Before October 1 of each year, a housing authority to which authority to negotiate payments in lieu of taxes has been delegated by a city or county shall submit to the state board of equalization an annual report containing a list of all the real and personal property owned by the housing authority and its associated entities and subsidiaries with respect to which payments in lieu of ad valorem taxes have been negotiated and accepted; the value of each listed property, as estimated by the lessee of the property; the date and term of the lease for each listed property; the amount of payments made in lieu of property taxes for each listed property; the date each listed property is scheduled to return to the regular tax rolls; and a calculation of the taxes which would have been due for each listed property if the properties were privately owned or otherwise subject to taxation. Each lessee of the housing authority shall be responsible for the timely completion and filing of the report, and failure to timely complete and file the report shall subject such lessees to a penalty equivalent to that applicable to similar lessees of industrial development corporations; provided, that no lessee shall be liable who has provided the state board of equalization information required by this section as may be pertinent to property leased by the lessee from the housing authority.

(g) (1) If any two (2) authorities determine it to be in the best interest of each authority to merge, each such authority shall approve the merger by resolution. Any such resolution shall include the name of each authority involved in the merger, identify the surviving authority into which each authority plans to merge and the terms and conditions of the merger. Any such resolution shall be filed with each city or county that created each authority that is subject to the merger, and if the governing body of each such city or county approves such merger by resolution, the authorities may proceed with the merger. Upon the effective date of the merger:

(A) Every other authority that is a party to the merger shall merge into the surviving authority and the separate existence of every authority except the surviving authority shall cease;

(B) The title to all real estate and other property owned by each authority that is a party to the merger shall be vested in the surviving authority without reversion or impairment;

(C) The surviving authority shall be deemed to have assumed all liabilities and obligations of each authority that is a party to the merger;

(D) A proceeding pending against any corporation that is a party to the merger may be continued as if the merger did not occur or the surviving corporation may be substituted in the proceeding for the authority whose existence ceased; and

(E) The board of commissioners of the surviving entity shall remain unchanged.

(2) Upon the effective date of any such merger, the boundaries of the authority shall be deemed to be the collective boundaries of the merged authorities.

(3) The surviving authority for purposes of this chapter shall continue to be considered a city, county or regional authority as was the case prior to the merger, and the appointment and composition of the board of commissioners of the surviving authority shall not change.

(4) The power to merge authorities under this subsection (g) is supplemental to all other powers granted under this chapter to consolidate authorities or to create regional authorities.

(5) A notice of any merger of authorities pursuant to this subsection (g) shall be filed with the secretary of state.

(h) If an authority determines it to be in its best interest to dissolve, the authority shall approve such dissolution by resolution. Such resolution shall include a statement providing for the distribution of assets upon the completion of dissolution of the authority. Upon adoption of such resolution, subject to any approval required by the charter or bylaws of the authority and upon the approval by resolution by the governing body of each municipality or county that created such authority, articles of dissolution and termination setting forth the name of the authority, the date of its incorporation and a statement that the authority has approved the dissolution of the authority and the date on which such approval was given shall be delivered to the secretary of state. Upon filing the articles of dissolution with the secretary of state, the corporate existence of the authority shall terminate except for the purpose of conducting activities to wind up and liquidate its affairs, including collecting its assets, conveying and disposing of its properties that will not be distributed in kind, discharging or making provisions for discharging its liabilities, and returning, transferring or conveying assets held by the authority upon a condition requiring return, transfer or conveyance, which condition occurs by reason of the dissolution, in accordance with such condition, transferring, subject to any contractual or legal requirements, its assets as provided or authorized by its charter or bylaws.

History: Acts 1935 (Ex. Sess.), ch. 20, § 9; 1937, ch. 234, § 3; mod. C. Supp. 1950, § 3647.8 (Williams, § 3647.9); Acts 1972, ch. 690, § 2; 1976, ch. 729, § 1; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 13-804; Acts 1995, ch. 442, § 1; 1999, ch. 243, § 1; 2002, ch. 815, § 2; 2006, ch. 999, §§ 1-4; 2012, ch. 706, §§ 1-3; 2015, ch. 222, § 1.