If you’re a tenant in West Virginia, it’s important that you make yourself aware of what your rights are under the law; including federal, state and local laws. This holds true if you’re a landlord also. The majority of tenant occupancies usually run their course with little to no problems. This isn’t always the case. This is why it’s so important to be aware of what your rights are before something comes up. Here’s a brief overview of West Virginia tenant landlord laws.
West Virginia Landlords Rights and Obligations
Rent – There is no rent control currently established in the state of West Virginia. As such, a landlord has no restrictions with regard to the amount of rent he or she may charge.
Application fees and late charges – A landlord has a right to charge application fees and late charges. Although there are no limits set on either, fees should closely reflect the actual expenses incurred by the landlord as a result of a late payment by a tenant.
If a payment is returned, and there is a fee incurred, the landlord may charge a service fee no higher than $25.00, and he or she must give the tenant written notification of the dishonored payment. Said notification must include the amount of the dishonored payment, the check number, the name of the financial institution and the name of whom the check is made out to. The written notice should also contain wording that gives the tenant a 10 day grace period to honor the returned payment and the service charge before legal action is taken.
Security deposit – There are no limits set on the amount a landlord in West Virginia may charge a prospective tenant for a security deposit other than that the amount must be reasonable. There are no regulations as to where the landlord is required to hold the security deposit.
West Virginia has no specific time frame as to when the landlord is required to return a security deposit. A landlord may withhold monies from the said security deposit as a compensation for just repairs or damages to the property.
Lease agreement – A West Virginia landlord may be required to forgive a tenant the remainder of a lease if the rental property becomes unlivable due to natural causes or any unlivable situation not caused by the tenant.
Rental property – A landlord is obligated to provide a rental property that is habitable. This includes but may not necessarily be limited to maintaining a heating system and air conditioning system (if applicable) that is in working order, and meets all of West Virginia building and housing code regulations.
West Virginia tenant rights and obligations
Discrimination – West Virginia law states that a landlord cannot refuse to rent to an individual based on that individual’s race, sex, sexual orientation, national heritage, or age.
Premises – You have an obligation to keep the rental property clean. A tenant may not knowingly and willingly destroy any part of the rental property maliciously. This includes damage that is intentional or damages that results from neglect of something that required attention.
Under West Virginia law, a tenant is not responsible to pay for damages that he or she or a friend did not cause.
Early termination of lease or eviction – A tenant or a landlord has a right to terminate a lease agreement early as long as notification and means of notification as stated in the West Virginia Landlord and Tenant Act are adhered to.
A landlord has a right to evict a tenant under the provisions stated in the West Virginia Landlord and Tenant Act, and under any applicable federal and state laws.
If a tenant is being evicted for only nonpayment of rent, and said tenant offers to pay back rent before the date of the court hearing, the eviction petition must be dismissed.
Security deposit – It is against West Virginia law for a landlord to withhold a security deposit from a tenant without just cause.
Note: The information contained herein is not all-inclusive. Both landlords and tenants in the state of West Virginia are encouraged to obtain and review a written copy of what their complete rights and obligations are under West Virginia law.