State Laws

West Virginia Landlord Tenant Laws

March 2, 2023

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Quick Facts

Required Disclosures   

Lead-based paint 
Nonrefundable fees 
  
Rent and Fees   

Application Fees: Permitted 
Rent Control: N/A 
Late Fee Limit: N/A 
Grace Period Minimum: N/A 
   
Security Deposits   
Amount Limit: N/A 
Interest: N/A 
Return Within: 60 days 
  
Entry   
Notice: Reasonable 
Permitted Times of Entry: N/A 
Fair Housing Protections   

Race  
Color   
National origin   
Religion   
Sex   
Familial status 
Disability 
Ancestry 
Pregnancy 
  
Eviction Notices   

Rent Demand Notice: Immediate quit notice 
Notice for Lease Violation: Immediate quit notice

West Virginia Landlord-Tenant Law 

Understand the essential West Virginia landlord tenant state laws before enforcing your own rental policies. Find more information in the West Virginia state law code.  

Required Disclosures 

Lead-based paint  

(Title X, Section 1018

Landlords in all 50 states must include information about lead-based paint hazards in the rental agreements for most properties built before 1978. Sellers and landlords must distribute an EPA-approved information pamphlet called “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” and disclose any known lead hazards in the property. These obligations were established by Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992. 

Nonrefundable Fees 

(WV Code § 37-6A-1(14)

A West Virginia lease agreement should include whether or not any fee (such as an application fee) is nonrefundable. A rental property pet agreement should include whether any fees related to pets are nonrefundable. 

Rent and Fees 

  • Rent Due Date: There is no statute in West Virginia specifying when rent should be due. However, it is typically due on the date specified in the rental agreement or on the first day of the month. 
  • Application Fees: Rental application fees are not regulated in West Virginia.  
  • Rent Increases: There is no statewide rent control in West Virginia.  
  • Late Fees: There are no statutory limits on late fees in West Virginia. 
  • Grace Period: There is no mandatory grace period in West Virginia. 
  • NSF/Bounced Check Fee Maximum: If the tenant’s rent check bounces, the landlord may charge a fee of $25 (WV Code § 61-3-39e). 
  • Withholding Rent/Repair and Deduct: Tenants in West Virginia may not withhold rent. However, if the landlord fails to make a necessary repair, the tenant may give 14 days’ notice, after which they may arrange for the repair and deduct the cost from the rent (Teller v. McCoy, 253 S.E.2d 114). 

Security Deposits 

  • Deposit Limit: There is no limit on security deposit amounts in West Virginia  
  • Interest: Landlords in West Virginia are not required to pay interest on security deposits. 
  • Return Within: 30 days (Senate Bill No. 545). 
  • Deposit Location: Landlords are not required to keep security deposits in a separate bank account. 
  • Withholding: Landlords may withhold funds from the security deposit for unpaid rent, damages other than reasonable wear and tear, unpaid utilities, reasonable costs for the removal and/or storage of the tenant’s belongings, and other damages provided in the rental agreement (such as repairs). Landlords must itemize these deductions and deliver them in a written notice to the tenant with the remainder of the security deposit (WV Code § 37-6A-2). 

Tenant Screening and Fair Housing Protections 

Protected Classes 

  • Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability (Title 24 USC § 3601-3607). West Virginia state law adds ancestry and specifies that “familial status” includes persons with custody of underage children, persons in the process of gaining custody of a child, and pregnancy (WV Code § 5-11A-5). 

Credit Reports 

  • West Virginia landlords are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (15 USC § 1681), which outlines the responsibilities of landlords to protect tenant credit information. According to the Act, landlords may not share tenant credit information with anyone without a legal reason to view it. They must also investigate disputed information, dispose of credit reports after use in tenant screening, and notify applicants when their credit score or history was the reason for their denial. 

Criminal Histories 

  • Criminal background checks may be used during tenant screening in West Virginia. 
  • West Virginia landlords should follow HUD recommendations for using criminal background checks fairly. This includes avoiding blanket policies for denying applicants with criminal convictions, assessing applicants and their criminal histories on a case-by-case basis, and only denying an applicant when they demonstrate a risk to the safety of other residents or the property. 

Entry 

Eviction Notices 

  • In West Virginia, no prior notice is required before the landlord files for eviction, for unpaid rent or lease violations. Eviction hearings will often be scheduled only a few days or even the day after the tenant receives a summons to court. West Virginia landlords are also not required to provide tenants an opportunity to pay their rent or cure their violation before the case is filed. This means landlords may file for eviction immediately after a lease violation or missed rental payment without waiting for the expiration of any notice period (WV Code § 55-3A-1). 

Evictions are complex legal processes often poorly understood by both parties. Before pursuing eviction in West Virginia, consider hiring an experienced real estate attorney and be sure to review the West Virginia eviction process in more detail.

Other Laws and Facts About West Virginia 

  • The median rent rate in West Virginia is $899. 
  • The median rent rate in Charleston is $815. 
  • Landlords in West Virginia must guarantee heat from October 1 until the last day of April (WV Code § 37-6-30(7)). 

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