This is a summary of West Virginia Landlord-Tenant laws that apply to residential (non-commercial) rentals. These references were compiled from the Code of West Virginia and various online sources to serve as a reference and for people wanting to learn about West Virginia landlord-tenant laws, West Virginia eviction laws, and West Virginia renters’ rights. 

However, this guide is not comprehensive and PayRent does not warrant the accuracy of this information. Statutes can change any time the state legislature passes a new law. Additionally, counties and cities may have different regulations. Given its limitations, this guide is not an adequate substitute for legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer.  If you are dealing with a landlord-tenant issue, you seek guidance from a qualified attorney. If you need help finding an attorney, we’ve included a list of attorney referral services in this guide.

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Rules and Regulations Governing West Virginia Landlord-Tenant Laws

West Virginia Lease Terms Provisions


Security Deposits

  • What is the maximum allowable security deposit?
    There is no West Virginia law limiting security deposits.
  • Are security deposits required to earn interest?

No. There is no West Virginia law requiring security deposits to earn interest.

  • Do landlords need to store security deposits in a separate bank account? 

No. There is no West Virginia law requiring security deposits to be stored in a separate bank account.

  • Are non-refundable fees, such as pet fees, prohibited?

No. There is no West Virginia law forbidding non-refundable fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge. 

  • How long do landlords have to return security deposits?

60 days, or45 days after occupation by a subsequent tenant, if that is less than 60 days. (W.Va. Co. §37-6A-1)

  • Can landlords withhold security deposits?

Yes. Landlords can use the deposit to cover accrued rent, to repair any damages except for wear and tear, any unpaid utilities, and to remove and store any of the tenant’s left-over property. (W.Va. Co. §37-6A-2)

  • Are landlords required to itemize damages and fees deducted from security deposits?

No, unless the estimated damage/cost exceeds the amount of the security deposit, in which case the landlord may have 15 days to compile an itemized list. (W.Va. Co. §37-6A-2)

  • Do landlords have to issue receipts upon receiving security deposits?

No. There is no West Virginia law requiring landlords to issue receipts for security deposits.

  • Are there any specific requirements for record-keeping for deposit withholdings?

Yes. Any deposit withholdings and their reasons must be kept for a year after the end of the

occupancy. (W.Va. Co. §37-6A-2)

  • What happens when a landlord does not return a security deposit within the required timeframe?

A landlord forfeits any right to the remaining deposit, plus may be ordered to pay one and a half times the balance remaining as damages. (W.Va. Co. §37-6A-2)

Rent

  • Is there a cap on how much landlords can charge for rent? (rent control)

No. There are no rent control laws in West Virginia.

  • When is rent due?

There is no statute governing when rent is due in West Virginia.

  • Does rent need to be paid using a certain method of payment?

No. There is no West Virginia law requiring a certain payment method for rent.

Fees

  • Can landlords charge late fees when rent is late?

Yes. But the fees must be specified in the rental agreement. (W.Va. Co. §37-6A-2)

  • Do landlords have to allow for a grace period for paying rent before charging late fees?

No. There is no West Virginia law requiring a grace period before assessing late fees.

  • Can landlords charge application fees?

Yes. There is no West Virginia law forbidding application fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.

  • Can landlords charge returned check fees?

Yes. Landlords can charge a returned check fee up to $25. (W.Va. Co. §61-3-39(E))

West Virginia Landlord-Tenant Relations

Notices

  • Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms?

No. There is no West Virginia law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms.

  • Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the property?

No. There is no West Virginia law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the rental property.

  • What notice is required to terminate a fixed-end lease?

No notice is required — the lease ends on the date stated in the lease. (W.Va. Co. §37-6-5

  • What notice is required to terminate a year-to-year periodic tenancy?

A year-to-year tenancy requires 3 months’ notice to end. (W.Va. Co. §37-6-5)

  • What notice is required to terminate a week-to-week periodic tenancy?

Either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the tenancy with 7 days’ written notice. (W.Va. Co. §37-6-5)

  • What notice is required to terminate a month-to-month periodic tenancy?

Either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the tenancy with 30 days’ written notice. (W.Va. Co. §37-6-5)

  • Is notice of the date and time of the move out inspection required?

There is no statute in West Virginia law covering this issue. 

Entry Provisions

  • When can landlords enter the rental premises with notice?

There is no statute governing this issue in West Virginia.

  • What notice must a landlord give a tenant before entering the rental unit?

There is no West Virginia law requiring landlords to give tenants notice of entry.

  • When can landlords enter the rental premises without providing notice to their tenants?

There is no statute governing this issue in West Virginia.

Landlord’s Duties (W.Va. Co. §37-6-30)

  • Deliver the premises in a fit and habitable condition at the start of a tenancy.
  • Landlords must comply with applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
  • Landlords must make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a habitable condition.
  • Landlords must keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition.
  • Landlords must maintain in good and safe working order all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord.
  • Landlords must provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for the removal of garbage and arrange for their removal in multiple housing units.
  • Landlords must supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat between October 1 and April 30, unless the dwelling is not connected to public utilities and has heating or water at the sole control of the tenant.

Tenant’s Duties

  • There is no statute in West Virginia governing what duties a tenant has.

Required Landlord Disclosures

  • Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

West Virginia Renters’ Rights

  • What are West Virginia renters’ rights if landlords breach their duties? (See Landlord’s Duties)

There are no statutes in West Virginia governing what rights a tenant has if a landlord breaches their duties.

  • Are tenants allowed to withhold rent for needed repairs or other breaches of their landlords’ duties?

There is no law in West Virginia governing whether or not a tenant can withhold rent for breaches of a landlord’s duties.

  • What are the protections for tenants against retaliation from their landlords for exercising their West Virginia renter’s rights?

West Virginia does not have a statute providing protections from a landlord’s retaliation, though the state supreme court has found retaliation may be raised by a tenant as a defense in an eviction action. (Imperial Colliery Co. v. Fout, 373 S.E.2d 489 (1988))

West Virginia Eviction Laws

  • What are the reasons that landlords can evict tenants under West Virginia eviction laws?  
    • Nonpayment of rent 
    • Violation of lease terms / rental agreement 
    • The tenant remains in possession without the landlord’s consent after expiration or termination of the term of the rental agreement (holdover tenancy) (W.Va. Co. §37-6-19)
  • What notice do West Virginia eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
    • For evictions based on non-payment of rent or violations of the lease term, no notice is required before beginning an eviction action. (W.Va. Co. §55-3A-1)
  • For evictions based on a holdover tenancy, landlords must provide the notice required to end the tenancy. (W.Va. Co. §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. Landlords must follow the procedures for eviction laid out in the statute. (W.Va. Co. §55-3A-1)

  • Are landlords permitted to recover damages from an evicted tenant?

There is no statute governing this issue in West Virginia. 

COVID-19 Changes to West Virginia Landlord-Tenant Laws

  • The CDC has passed a national eviction ban through December 31, 2020, that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants  who meet the following criteria for nonpayment:
    • Have used their best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent.
    • Expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return).
    • Are unable to pay their full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of income or employment, or extraordinary medical bills.
    • If evicted, will have no other housing options.
  • The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act requires landlords to provide a 30-day notice to tenants before eviction. However, the CARES Act only applies to properties that are supported by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), or the United States Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit), and properties with federally-backed mortgages, such as FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

Related Links

Government 

Legal Aid

Attorney Referral Services

Realtor and Landlord-Tenant Associations

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