A reference of West Virginia eviction laws, and steps of the West Virginia eviction process for landlords and renters, updated 2021.
- What are the reasons for eviction under West Virginia eviction laws?
- Nonpayment of rent (W.V. Code § 55-3A-1)
- Non-compliance with the lease agreement (W.V. Code § 55-3A-1)
- The tenant remains in possession of the rental unit after the lease term without the owner’s permission (W.V. Code § 37-6-5)
- What notice do West Virginia eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
- No notice is required for a landlord to evict a tenant based on nonpayment of rent or non-compliance with the lease agreement.
- A landlord may end a month-to-month tenancy with a 30-day notice or a year-to-year tenancy with a 3-months’ notice. (W.V. Code § 37-6-5)
- Do West Virginia eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities?
- No. West Virginia law prohibits self-help measures.
Eviction Process in West Virginia: Step-by-Step
The eviction process in West Virginia involves the following six-step process:
- Landlord files complaint. In West Virginia, notice is not typically required before initiating the eviction process in West Virginia. A landlord can give their tenant an opportunity to cure their lease violation or to pay overdue rent if they want, but they are not required to.
The landlord files the complaint with the local magistrate court. This is known as an Unlawful Occupation claim. The landlord prepares a Petition for Summary Relief – Wrongful Occupation. The petition must include the following information:
- A signed affidavit
- A statement that the plaintiff is the owner or agent of property where the tenant resides
- A brief description of the property
- A statement that the tenant is behind on rent, has breached a provision in the lease, or has deliberately or negligently damaged the property and specifics regarding such violation
- A request that the property be returned to the owner
The court schedules a hearing between five and ten days after the filing date.
- The tenant responds to the complaint. The landlord is responsible for having the tenant legally served with the legal documents through personal service or by certified mail, return receipt requested. This includes a notice that the tenant must submit any defense to the petition in writing within five days of receiving the notice. The landlord is responsible for filing proof with the court that the tenant was properly served.
- Parties attend the hearing. If the tenant does not respond or the court rules in favor of the landlord, the court sets a vacate date for the tenant.
- The landlord obtains a Writ of Possession. If the tenant fails to vacate by the date set by the court, the landlord can request and obtain a Writ of Possession from the court. The landlord provides this document to the sheriff, which gives them the legal authority to physically remove the tenant from the rental unit.