West Virginia Landlord Tenant Laws
March 2, 2023
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Rent and Fees
Application Fees: Permitted
Rent Control: N/A
Late Fee Limit: N/A
Grace Period Minimum: N/A
Amount Limit: N/A
Return Within: 60 days
Permitted Times of Entry: N/A
|Fair Housing Protections
Rent Demand Notice: Immediate quit notice
Notice for Lease Violation: Immediate quit notice
West Virginia Landlord-Tenant Law
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.
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).
- 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
- 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).
- 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 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.
- Advanced Notice: Landlords in West Virginia should give reasonable advanced notice before entering (West Virginia Renters’ Rights Brochure).
- Permitted Times: West Virginia state law does not designate any time-of-day restrictions for entering.
- Emergency Entry: Entry in case of emergency for repairs is permitted in West Virginia (West Virginia Renters’ Rights Brochure).
- 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)).