West Virginia Eviction
UPDATED: February 13, 2020
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Evictions in West Virginia are available to any landlord so long as the landlord follows proper West Virginia eviction procedure. If the landlord does not follow West Virginia eviction law, the eviction suit may be dismissed, and the tenant may be entitled to damages from the landlord. In West Virginia, eviction actions are called "unlawful detainer" suits.
Available West Virginia Termination Notices
The most common reasons for evictions are failure to pay rent and breach of a term of the lease. Before a landlord can file for eviction, he or she must give the tenant the proper termination notice, which outlines the reason or reasons for the termination. For month-to-month or other periodic tenancies, the landlord needs no cause to terminate; he or she must only give a certain amount of time for the tenant to leave (usually 30 days).
For term leases (1 year and 2 year leases), the type of notice a landlord must give depends on the reason for the termination. If a landlord wishes to end a term lease tenancy earlier, he or she may do so by serving the tenant with an appropriate notice. You should contact an evictions lawyer or your local Magistrate court to find out exactly what kind of notice you should give your tenant.
Evictions in West Virginia are handled by the Magistrate courts. Find your local Magistrate court at the West Virginia courts website. Your local Magistrate court will also have forms available for you to fill out to begin the eviction process. If you are unsure of the termination and/or eviction process at any point, consulting an experienced West Virginia landlord tenant attorney is a good option. Be sure to take a look at Questions to Ask Your West Virginia Evictions Lawyer below before you speak with an attorney.
Self-Help Evictions in West Virginia
Self-help eviction is illegal in all states. In West Virginia, a landlord may not shut off the utilities, lock out a tenant, or force a tenant out in any other way. If a landlord uses self-help methods to evict a tenant, the tenant may be entitled to:
- Damages; and
- Attorney's fees.
Questions to Ask Your West Virginia Evictions Lawyer
- How many evictions cases have you handled?
- How many were successful/unsuccessful?
- How long will the eviction process take?
- For tenants: How long do I have before I MUST move out?
- For landlords: Will I be able to get a judgment for back rent for the amount of time the tenant has been living in the rental property illegally?
- What do you charge?
- For landlords: If I hire you, will I be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?