Landlordstation.com firmly believes that as a landlord in this state, knowing West Virginia landlord tenant law as it applies to both yourself and your tenant is an essential part of a successful rental contract. Knowing your own rights and responsibilities as well as the tenant's is an extremely important in protecting yourself legally and financially. It enables you to help troubleshoot, or avoid all together, landlord-tenant conflict. What follows is only a general overview of WV landlord tenant law and should not be construed as legal advice. For specific legal advice regarding your situation, contact an experienced attorney.
West Virginia landlord tenant law is governed by West Virginia Code Chapter 37, Article 6. These laws are based on the principle of warranty of habitability. In general terms, this means that the tenant has a right to decent, habitable housing. In West Virginia, the warranty of habitability is covered under W.Va. Code § 37-6-30 and gives the tenant the right to fit and habitable rental premises for the full period of the lease, which the landlord is obligated to maintain as long as rent is received on time from the tenant and any deterioration of the premises was not caused by the negligence or carelessness of the tenant.
It is strongly advised that every landlord have a written lease agreement to better help define landlord and tenants rights in West Virginia rental contracts, but you should know that when there is a verbal lease agreement, the warranty of habitability is still implied. In addition to the warranty of habitability, the landlord is also responsible for whatever care the lease specifically assigns, such as yard maintenance. Your rights as landlord under West Virginia landlord tenant law include the right to collect rent according to the lease terms and the right to tenant eviction or lease termination if rent is not paid or if the tenant otherwise fails to uphold his or her end of the contract.
Hopefully, you are already generally aware of your rights and responsibilities as landlord under WV landlord tenant law. However, it is important to take it one step further and also know the rights of your tenant. Not only will this help protect you and potentially prevent conflict, but the overlapping concepts will reinforce your knowledge of your own rights and responsibilities.
WV renters rights include the following:
• The right to decent housing as defined by the warranty of habitability at all times
• The right to complain about and report inhabitable housing to the landlord or local government without retaliation
• The right to enforce the warranty of habitability through a civil suit, with or without an attorney
• The right to ask for money damages in such a civil suit
• The right to a court-ordered eviction when such eviction is against the tenant's will, even if he or she is behind on rent
• The right to maintain all personal property, even when tenant owes back rent
• The right to privacy, including the right to sufficient notice of landlord's intent to enter the premises
• The right to remove an eviction suit from magistrate court to circuit court
• The right to appeal a magistrate court decision
• The right to the proper return of the security and/or damage deposit when there is no just cause for the landlord to retain it
As you can see from this list, knowing and understanding your tenant's rights in West Virginia as well as you know and understand your rights as the landlord, provides vital information and protection should any unavoidable landlord-tenant conflict arise. It also helps you be proactive in preventing such conflict, as you will know where you and your tenant stand in all situations.
Landlord Station wants you to proactively protect yourself legally and financially by knowing both you and your tenant's rights and responsibilities under West Virginia landlord tenant law. Having such information can only make you a better landlord, and make the entire leasing experience successful for all parties involved. Remember, this information is merely a general overview of what you should know and is not legal advice. For specific legal advice and legal knowledge regarding any rental agreements you're involved in, consult an experienced West Virginia lawyer.
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