What is the Eviction Process in West Virginia
West Virginia has a unique eviction process for landlords to follow if there is a rental agreement violation or if rent hasn't been paid on time.
As long as a landlord has suitable grounds to proceed with an eviction, they can proceed directly to their local court to file a complaint against the tenant.
The tenant will then be served a summons to appear in court to defend against a summary eviction. Although it is recommended that landlords provide their tenants with some sort of eviction notice, it is not mandatory.
As soon as there is a violation of the lease, the eviction process can begin.
The only exception to this rule is if a tenancy has transitioned to a month-to-month lease.
Landlords are required to give a 30 day notice for eviction in this circumstance.
A Hearing Could Be Held in 5 Business Days
Tenants must move quickly once they receive their summons in West Virginia.
The hearing regarding their eviction may be held in as little as 5 business days.
If rent is due on the first of the month and the landlord files a complaint on the second of the month, it is possible for the eviction hearing to be held as soon as the seventh day of the month.
If a tenant does not issue a defense to the summons or show up to the hearing, a default judgment for a summary eviction will be granted.
An unlawful detainer is a second complaint a landlord may choose to file.
It differs from the summary eviction because it allows landlords to pursue monetary damages that the tenant may be responsible for covering.
An answer is still required in 5 business days, but the trial date for this hearing may take up to 10 business days to be scheduled.
Tenants May Appeal an Eviction Finding
Tenants in West Virginia do have the ability to appeal a court order or judgment for eviction.
It must be filed with the court within 20 days and tenants are responsible to pay their rent during the appeal period.
If lease violations occur during the appeal, landlords do have the right to file a petition for another summary eviction and this second order could be enforced before the appeal is ever heard.
The eviction process in West Virginia may favor landlords, but tenants still have certain rights that must be addressed as well.
As long as there are legitimate grounds for an eviction, however, a landlord may only need to wait 7-10 days to remove a problematic tenant instead of the 15-30 days it takes landlords in other states and that is a definite advantage.
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