West Virginia Rental Laws

Written on December 18, 2015 by , updated on November 1, 2017

flag-of-west-virginiaThis article summarizes some key West Virginia landlord-tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the state bar association. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No statute
  • Security Deposit Interest: No statute
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute
  • Pet Deposits: No statute
  • Non-Refundable Fees: Non-refundable pet fees and application fees are allowed, if agreed in writing that such fees are nonrefundable. (§ 37-6A-1(14))
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit:
    • Within 60 days of the termination of the tenancy or within 45 days of the occupation of the premise by a subsequent tenant, whichever period is shorter. (§ 37-6A-1(7))
    • In the event that damages to the premises exceed the amount of the security deposit and require the services of a third-party contractor, the landlord shall give written notice to the tenant, advising him or her of that fact, within the applicable notice period (60 days /45 days). If notice is given as prescribed in this subsection, the landlord shall have an additional 15 day period to provide an itemization of the damages and the cost of repair. (§ 37-6A-2(c))
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit:
    • Payment of rent due, including reasonable late fees as specified in the rental agreement;
    • Payment to cover damages caused by the tenant’s noncompliance with the rental agreement, except for reasonable wear and tear;
    • Payment of unpaid utility bills paid by the landlord for which the tenant is responsible under the rental agreement;
    • Payment of reasonable costs to remove and store the tenant’s personal property;
    • Payment to repair other damages or charges as provided in the rental agreement, including but not limited to, paying for the services of a third-party contractor to repair damages to the property caused by the tenant. (§ 37-6A-2(b))
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (§ 37-6A-2(a) and (§ 37-6A-2(c))
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: Records of deposit withholdings must be kept for one year after the termination of the tenancy. The landlord must allow the tenant or tenant’s authorized agent or attorney to inspect the records within 72 hours of a written request. (§ 37-6A-3)
  • Receipt of Deposit: No statute
  • Failure to Comply: If the landlord willfully or in bad faith fails to return the security deposit as required by statute, the tenant may sue to recover any unreturned security deposit, in addition to damages up to one and a half times the amount wrongfully withheld. If the tenant still owes rent to the landlord, the court shall order any amount awarded to the tenant credited against the rent that is due. (§ 37-6A-5)

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: No statute
  • Rent Increase Notice: No statute
  • Rent Grace Period: No statute
  • Late Fees: Allowed, but must be specific and agreed to in the lease. (§ 37-6A-2(b)(1))
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute
  • Returned Check Fees: $25 (§ 61-3-39e)
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): No statute
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No statute
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: No statute
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: If a tenant abandons the lease, the landlord has the option either to hold the tenant liable for the remainder of the lease or to notify the tenant of the landlord’s intent to re-rent. If the landlord re-rents, then the tenant is still liable for the unexpired portion of their term, as well as for any difference between the amount of rent received by the landlord from the new tenant. If the landlord elects to hold the tenant liable for the lease, the tenant is entitled to recover possession of the premises if they pay any unpaid rent and meet any other obligations under the lease. (§ 37-6-7 and § 37-6-8)
  • Abandonment/Early Termination Fee: No statute

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: Notice not required, as the lease simply expires. (§ 37-6-5)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Yearly Lease with No End Date: Three months’ written notice, unless a different period of notice is agreed in writing. (§ 37-6-5)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: One month’s written notice required from the day rent is due, unless a different period of notice is agreed in writing. (§ 37-6-5)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: One week’s written notice, unless a different period of notice is agreed in writing. (§ 37-6-5)
  • Immediate Termination of Tenancy (Unconditional Quit Notice): If the tenant has violated the lease or damaged the premises, the landlord may file for eviction immediately without notice. Once the magistrate or circuit court sets a hearing date, the landlord must notify the tenant in writing of the hearing. See statute for required notification procedure.
    (§ 55-3A-1)
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
  • Notice of Termination of Week-to-Week Leases for Nonpayment: Landlord may file for eviction immediately without notice. Once the magistrate or circuit court sets a hearing date, the landlord must notify the tenant in writing of the hearing. See statute for required notification procedure. (§ 55-3A-1)
  • Notice of Termination of All Other Leases for Nonpayment: Landlord may file for eviction immediately without notice. Once the magistrate or circuit court sets a hearing date, the landlord must notify the tenant in writing of the hearing. See statute for required notification procedure. (§ 55-3A-1)
  • Termination for Lease Violation: Landlord may file for eviction immediately without notice. Once the magistrate or circuit court sets a hearing date, the landlord must notify the tenant in writing of the hearing. See statute for required notification procedure. (§ 55-3A-1)
  • Required Notice before Entry: No statute, but reasonable notice of at least 24 hours is recommended.
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): No statute, but reasonable notice of at least 24 hours is recommended.
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: No statute, but reasonable notice of at least 24 hours is recommended.
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No statute
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No, chapter § 55-3A specifies the procedure for eviction, which doesn’t allow for lockouts. (§ 55-3A)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No, chapter § 55-3A specifies the procedure for eviction, which doesn’t allow for utility shutoffs. (§ 55-3A)

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: No statute
  • Copy of the Lease: No statute
  • Domestic Violence Situations: No statute. An Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection (AARDVARC) provides contact information for West Virginia domestic violence advocates and support resources by county.
  • Landlord’s Duties: (§ 37-6-30)
    • Maintenance and Compliance: Maintain premises to meet applicable health, safety, fire and housing codes, unless the failure to meet those requirements is the fault of the tenant, the tenant’s family member or someone else on the premises with tenant’s consent, and;
    • Common Areas: In multiple housing units, keep clean, safe and in repair all common areas maintained for tenant use; and;
    • Repairs: Make all repairs necessary to keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition, unless said repairs were due to the tenant’s carelessness, or that of the tenant’s family member or someone on the premises with the tenant’s consent;
    • Appliances: 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 agreement or by law;
    • Trash: In multiple housing units, provide and maintain appropriate conveniences for the removal of garbage and other waste;
    • Heat: For units supplied by direct public utility connections, supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times, and reasonable heat between the first day of October and the last day of April, except where the dwelling unit is so constructed that running water, heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant.
  • Tenant’s Duties: No statute, but according to the Landlord and Tenant: Rights and Responsibilities guide, the generally accepted duties are:
    • Act in Accordance with the Lease: 
      • Pay the rent as specified in the lease
      • Carry out the other terms of the lease, such as payment for utilities
    • Compliance: Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
    • Report Damages: Report and pay for all damage caused by the tenant or visitors in the rental with the tenant’s permission
    • Cleanliness: Keep the premises that tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit;
    • Upkeep Alarms: Maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors by replacing batteries when needed;
    • Trash: Dispose of all garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner;
    • Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits;
    • Appliances: Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises;
    • Lawful Activity: Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person to do so; and
    • Quiet Enjoyment: Conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with tenant consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
  • Abandoned Personal Property: (§ 37-6-6(c))Upon regaining legal possession of the property, the landlord may take, dispose of or otherwise remove the tenant’s personal property without incurring any liability to the tenant or any other person. To dispose of the tenant’s property under this section, the landlord shall give a written notice to the tenant that shall be:
    • (1) Posted in a conspicuous place on the property; and
    • (2) Sent by first-class mail with a certificate of mailing, which provides a receipt of the date of mailing, in an envelope endorsed “Please Forward”, addressed and mailed to the tenant at:
      • (A) The leased property;
      • (B) Any post office box held by the tenant and known to the landlord or housing authority; and
      • (C) The most recent forwarding address if provided by the tenant or known to the landlord or housing authority.
  • Retaliation: No statute. Prohibition against landlord retaliation established in case law. Landlord must not terminate or refuse to renew a lease to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority or exercised a legal right. Refer to Imperial Colliery Co. v. Fout, 373 S.E.2d 489 (1988) for more information.
  • Lead Disclosure: 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.

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
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28 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Jonathan collier

    I am on HUD and my landlord just told me he is selling the house I still have six months in the lease. Does the new owner have to let my family stay till the end of the lease.

    • Melissa Jones

      Do not know what state law claims, but HUD lease states that, leases do not transfer between landlords.

    • Niki s

      All utilities are included in my rent. The electric is in another tenants name instead of landlords. The electric has been shut off due to non payment the landlord says he is trying to get it taken care of but can’t afford it because other tenants haven’t paid rent. Our furnace has also been broken for two months.Our rent is paid in full.What can be done at this point I can’t afford to move or pay to stay somewhere else.

  • Johny Matter

    Dealing with a product improvement group is no simple deed, not to mention a remote one, so these tips will assist organizations that need to investigate such wander and exceed expectations at it.

  • Heather D Drake

    I have a question that I can hopefully get an answer to. If tenants are not on the property and noise complaints are made does the Landlord have the right to give an eviction notice?

  • Kelly

    Had a house guest, for over a yr he had been asked to vacate, he never has paid rent, he has never contributed to utilities or food. He slept in and ruined my recliner and then broke my son’s recliner. He has filled my bathroom with all his clothes shoes belongings he has recently moved out about a month ago, he still has stuff here, I just found out that he stole stuff as well as gets mail here. Can I legally return mail to senders as well as out put his stuff out or throw it away? Please help me…

  • Tammy

    If I paid a deposit and signed a lease but did not pay 1st month rent nor did I take possession of the property, can that landlord keep the deposit?

  • albert miguel

    Does your legal experience include drafting of sales agreement. If Yes, what is the cost to retain your firm.

    Albert Miguel
    Marketing Manager
    Harbour Engineering Equipments Inc

  • Justen

    Can my landlord tell me to move(after being a good tenant who pays rent like I am supposed to)because he’s selling the house which I currently live in?

    • john lamb

      It can vary from state to state as to the regulations. Generally , rental & lease agreements are not required to be honored by a new owner as it can be left to their discretion . It may also depend upon whether the property is a home, apartment or hotel/motel establishment. The sale of that property may also be predicated upon it being vacant @ the closing of the sale of the property . It would be advisable to check your rental/lease agreement closely and/or consult legal advice from a licensed attorney specializing in real estate . Of particular interest is whether the landlord has clear title to the property .

  • Ross Knotts

    Was doing rent to own. Landlord not making payments to bank. Now im served eviction notice from bank saying landlord has paid in months. Put $6000 down to move in .

  • Irene McGee

    I have a question if i give my 30 days notice to my landlord do i still have to pay that months rent?

  • Kayla Harmon

    I’m on hud power shut off over safety hazards contacted aep said landlord was responsible to fix and he refused and verbally evicted me with a few days to get our belongings didn’t turn into hud I was evicted and I have 2 small children 3 and 1.

  • Jessica Johnston

    If you move in with a friend to help her after her husband passed because she had no income and you have paid all bills and taxes and receive mail there do they have to serve you with an eviction?

    • marie

      i would like the answer to this question to im dealing with the same thing and he is trying to trow my stuff in the trash and i put all my food money (ebt) in this place does he have to give me a notice and give me time

  • john p calvert

    Am I required as a landlord to give a tenant a written 30 day notice if the tenant has a one year lease that spells out clearly that lease ends on a specific date, i.e. 10/1/16 to 10/1/17/?

    Thank you

    • john p calvert

      I am using a management rental firm that is using monthly rent paind by the tenant for tenant’s security deposit, pet deposit, etc. Is tgis legal?

  • Renee carter

    Been having an issue with a tenant under me …ive been here in this apartment 8 years ..this woman has only been here 5 months and is the most disrespectful neighbor
    ..noisy all day and night ..her 3&4 year old as she claims are just babies and they can make all the noise they want ..landlord doesnt care he just about money…ive tried knocking on her door she just gets ignorant and I’m not trying to go to jail I got too much to lose she doesnt.the excessive noise goes on til 3/4 am I have to work and have a kid in school…now its been.proven she lets all this go on purposely..I’m sick.of it…riding big wheels..bouncing balls…screaming…banging n slamming doors…all night….im.entitled to peace n quiet after 10 pm kids or not

  • Megan L Fitzgerald

    Hello me and my husband have lived in our trailer we rent for over six years around our second year here we found out that the landlord didn’t own out trailer she had lost it to the bank . she never gave us anything telling us this we found out bc someone from city hall told us. We spoke to the bank and they said noone owned the trailer sofor four years we haven’t paid rent we habe been taking care of all the problems in the trailer fixing floors that was falling in painting tore out black mold and a bunch of other things. Then one day a man comes up and says hes tge new owner and we will pay him rent. That was almost six minths ago and he want give us out lease he keeps saying he will but doesn’t he never wants to give receipts. From wva

  • Tiana Greene

    If i live in income based apts and at the time i was in college rent was a certain amount and i paid in full till the month my lease is up and after obtained a job can my apts changed my rent and make me pay that amount?

  • Joyce

    I’m not a landlord I am a renter in WV. I moved into a communal non smoking building. We have two tenants that are smoking in their units . We live right next door to one of them. My husband has COPD,and struggles to breath. The landlord has sent out notices so many times and they just ignore the notices. My landlord states that there is nothing g they can do because it has to be proven. This is aover 55 building with a lot of elderly living. Can someone please guide us on legal rights and what landlord can do.

    Desperate not to have to move
    Thank you

  • Angela

    Renters moved out leaving behind truck loads of trash, they had piled up trash in some of our buildings waste high. We found a burn pit where they had been burning trash. Basically destroyed our house and moved to another town.. Any advise on how we should handle this in West Virginia??

  • Robbie

    I own a mobile home but rent the lot ,there is a large tree 20 feet from the back corner of my home the limbs are hanging around 30 feet over my roof they are very high up and are they are about to fall If they do it will cave my roof in if this happens I will be out in the cold with no place to go I have no Insurance cause of the age of the mobile home no one will insure it. my question is if this happens will landlord be libel for the damage? they refuse to have tree cut back and I can’t afford it they live in another state what rights do I have if this happens?

  • Kourtney Smith

    Can we (tenants) be held responsible by landlord and said landlord file a lawsuit on us because we have gotten a home inspector to come look at the home to confirm that it is indeed an unsafe environment. We notified our landlord of the problems but he refused to fix them so our last resort was to notify the home inspector and we didn’t contact our landlord because we was told by home inspector we didn’t have to. Now our landlord is trying to file a lawsuit on us because we got the inspector to come look at the home we was renting and they confirmed it to be unsafe. Can we be held responsible.

    • Karen

      Contact Legal Aid of WV 1-866-255-4370 or WV Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection hotline at 1-800-368-8808. If it’s a HUD contract call 1-800-685-8470.

  • John H Dix

    My brother in law is renting a 2 bedroom apartment in West Virginia and wants to rent a bedroom, someone said that was illegal.
    Is that true?

  • Jeff

    My daughter was renting a trailer that she had been renting for nearly a year. Her landlord told her resently that she had two weeks to find a place and move her, her 4 yr old, and her 3 yr old because landlords son and girlfriend wanted to move there. After finding a temporary place she still lacked moving her broke down car. Landlord gave her 5 days tjen had car towed next day. nothing but how long to move car was in writing. It was a text message.

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