The Fair Housing Act was created in order to ensure that everyone is treated equally during the housing process. It protects tenants from discrimination when seraching for a rental property. At the federal level the Fair Housing Act protects the following classes…
- National Origin
- Familial Status
Learn about fair housing at the federal level here https://resources.hemlane.com/landlord-must-know-fair-housing/
West Virginia protects the same categories as federal law (W. Va. Code §§ 5-11A-1, et. seq.).
Maximum Landlord Can Charge: There is no statute.
Record of Deposit Withholdings: The landlord is required to retain possession of the deposit withholdings for 1 year following the end of the lease. Upon attorney’s request, records should be available within 1 hour (W.Va § 37-6A-3).
Permitted Use of Security Deposit: Following the end of a tenancy, landlords may only use the security deposit to compensate for rent due and late rent charges as agreed upon, damages to the property attributed to the tenants, outstanding utility charges, moving or saving tenant’s items, and repairs or costs stated in the lease (W.Va Code § 37-6A-2(b)(1-5)).
Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: Landlords are required to return the security deposit within 60 days of the termination of the tenancy, or within 45 days of the subsequent tenant’s lease. The time required is subject to the briefer period of time (W.Va Code § 37-6A-1(7)).
Security Deposit Deduction Notice Upon Move Out: A written description and itemized list of damages and related charges are to be submitted with the security deposit. Should the costs of the damages exceed the initial security deposit, the landlord must notify the tenant within the relevant duration of time: 45 or 60 days. If the landlord complies with these requirements, then an extra 15 days are allowed to prepare and deliver an itemization of the costs of the damages. (W.Va Code § 37-6A-1(7) and 2(c)).
Bank account requirements: There is no statute.
Failure to Comply: In the event that a landlord deliberately neglects to return the security deposit to the tenant within the relevant amount of time, the tenant may open a lawsuit to retrieve the money withheld. Tenants may also seek compensation for the incurred damages from a landlord’s noncompliance “equal to one and a half times the amount wrongfully withheld” in the case that the tenant does not owe rent or charges to the landlord (W.Va Code § 37-6A-5).
Rent and Late Fees
Rent Fee: The rent is to be paid as agreed upon in the rental agreement (W.Va Code § 37-6A-2(b)(1)).
Rent Increase: There is no statute.
Late Fees: Landlords are allowed to charge a fee for late rent payments, in so long as the terms are identified in the lease agreement (W.Va Code § 37-6A-2(b)(1)).
Withholding Rent: There is no statute.
Repair and Deduct Rent: There is no statute.
Notices and Entry
Landlord Access to Property: There is no statute, but 24 hours notice is suggested.
Notice of Entry With Extended Tenant Absence: There is no statute.
Notice to Terminate Periodic Leases - Year or More: To terminate a year-to-year lease, landlords and tenants must submit a written notice at least 3 months prior to the end of any year (W.Va Code § 37-6-5).
Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Lease: To terminate a monthly lease, landlords and tenants must submit a written notice at least 1 month before the day the rent is due. If otherwise stated in the lease agreement, the party with intent to terminate the lease must provide notice in accordance with the relevant specification (W.Va Code § 37-6-5).
Notice to Terminate Week-to-Week Lease: To terminate a weekly lease, landlords and tenants must submit a written notice at least 1 week before the day the rent is due. If otherwise stated in the lease agreement, then party with intent to terminate the lease must provide notice in accordance with the relevant specification (W.Va Code § 37-6-5).
Duties of Landlord
- Habitable Conditions: Landlords must maintain habitable conditions in dwelling units that are safe, clean, and suitable for a human residence. They must comply with the relevant health, safety, fire and housing code regulations of West Virginia (W.Va Code § 37-6-30(a)(1-2)).
- Repairs: Landlords are required to make all necessary repairs to ensure habitable conditions, unless fault for the conditions necessitating repairs is attributed to a tenant’s lack of reasonable care (W.Va Code § 37-6-30(a)(4)).
- Heat and Water: Landlords must ensure that tenants have access to working heating and water provisions between October 1 and the last day of April, that provide a suitable amount of heat and hot water (W.Va Code § 37-6-30(a)(7)).
- Maintenance: Landlords must maintain all facilities and appliances required by the lease agreement (W.Va Code § 37-6-30(a)(5)).
- Garbage and Waste: Landlords must provide and sustain services for garbage and waste disposal in multiple housing units (W.Va Code § 37-6-30(a)(6)).
Duties of Tenants:
- There is no statute governing the tenant’s duties, but the general expectations can be found in the Renter’s Rights guide.
Abandoned Personal Property: Landlords may take or rid of abandoned personal property after recovering possession of the property. A written notice of intent to dispose of personal property is required of a landlord (W.VA Code § 37-6-6).
Lead Disclosure: Landlords must inform tenants of lead paint hazards and provide with the lease an information pamphlet on these hazards.
Notice of Eviction - Nonpayment: In cases of nonpayment, no notice is required before the landlord seeks legal action. Once a landlord has filed for eviction and received a date and time for a hearing, the landlord must submit a written notice of the hearing to the tenant (W.Va Code § 55-3A-1(a) and (b) and (c)).
Notice of Eviction - Lease Violation: Landlords do not have to submit a notice of intent to evict in the case that a tenant violates the lease agreement. The landlord may file for eviction with the circuit courts, and then must submit a written notice of the hearing to the tenant (W.Va Code § 55-3A-1(a) and (b) and (c)).
Notice of Eviction - Illegal Activity: There is no statute.
For more information on West Virginia Landlord Tenant laws please visit their website here.