West Virginia Security Deposit Law for Landlords and Tenants
Passed in 2011, the West Virginia security deposit law for landlords and tenants helped to provide some much needed details about when claims could be made.
It is important to note, however, that the new laws only apply to a tenancy started after June 10, 2011.
If a tenancy started before then, the security deposit law was essentially whatever a judge considered to be “reasonable” as a deduction.
If you are covered by the new laws, then here are the key points you need to know.
1. The Owner Of The Property Is Responsible For Holding The Security Deposit.
Tenants do not need to track down previous owners to try to find their security deposit.
The current owner must refund the deposit, no questions asked, unless they offer a statement of costs that is itemized.
2. There Are 2 Rules For The Amount Of Time Required For a Refund.
For tenants that receive some sort of government rental assistance, a landlord must return a security deposit within 30 days or a statement as to why the money is not being refunded.
All other tenants must receive their deposit either 60 days after the end of their tenancy or 45 days from the date a new tenant moved in.
3. West Virginia Allows For 6 Deduction Types.
The security deposit law allows for rent and late fees to be taken out. Damages except for reasonable wear and tear also qualify for a claim.
Cleaning up if necessary is allowed as well.
Any unpaid utilities that were paid by the landlord and billed to the tenant may qualify, as may the removal of any personal property left by a tenant, and any other qualifying damages determined by the lease.
4. Tenants Are Responsible For Any Damages Caused By Themselves Or By Guests, Even If It Is Accidental.
Unless a storm causes damage or a break-in happens (which are acts outside of a tenant's personal control), and damage that is caused by a tenant or their guest is their responsibility to fix.
The West Virginia security deposit law for landlords and tenants still offers some confusion because it is only a few years old, but as it ages, it will provide a consistent set of standards for all rentals. Because of these complexities, any questions you have should be directed to a legal professional.
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