The West Virginia thirty (30) day notice, (§ 37-6-5), is the notice that must be given to a tenant who is on a month-to-month or “at-will” lease in order for the landlord to be able to legally terminate the rental/lease agreement. The minimum amount of time that the tenant must receive as required under West Virginia law is 30 days. Note: This notice is for tenants who have not violated the lease agreement. If the tenant has violated the agreement, no such notice is required – the landlord can terminate the rental agreement and file an eviction lawsuit in magistrate
West Virginia Eviction Process & Laws | Free WV Eviction Notices
The West Virginia notice to quit, in accordance with § 55-3A-1, is a form that is given to a tenant out of courtesy from the landlord to identify that the tenant has broken a condition of their lease agreement before filing an eviction action. The notice will usually represent a sign from the landlord that if the tenant corrects the issue, such as paying rent that is past due or fixing a material violation, that the lease will be back in compliance. This notice should be given to the tenant via Certified Mail while the landlord collects and documents the return
How to Evict a Tenant (Process)
West Virginia statutes require that a tenant receive written notice before a landlord can initiate legal proceedings against them (unless the eviction is due to nonpayment of rent or noncompliance with the lease agreement). Although the landlord is not required to serve a tenant with an eviction notice (if they have failed to pay rent/committed a lease violation), it is considered ethical to do so and in many cases will save the landlord the trouble of filing an eviction lawsuit and going to court. “Self-help” evictions are not legal in West Virginia, a landlord can only forcibly evict a tenant by first obtaining a court order.
Step 1 – Serve the tenant with a notice to pay/cure/quit.
Note: Although this is not necessary, it can inspire the tenant to pay the past due rent/cure the lease violation/move out of the rental unit (without the hassle of going to court).
Step 2 – The landlord must file en eviction action (“Wrongful Occupation” action) in the Magistrate Court of the county where the rental property is located. After the action has been filed, the court will set up the hearing date. Typically the date of the hearing will be no more than 10 days from the filing date.
Step 3 – The court papers will be served on the tenant. This is typically done by the Sheriff, however it can also be done by any third party (such as an employee of the landlord/property manager). The tenant must file an answer to the lawsuit, otherwise the magistrate will most likely issue an judgement for possession (giving the landlord possession of the property and ordering the tenant to vacate).
Note: In the written answer, the tenant can request that the case be moved to a Circuit Court. If this happens, the case will go before a judge rather than a magistrate. The tenant can also request a jury trial. If the case is moved to Circuit Court, the hearing date will be scheduled 7-10 days after the initial request/answer was filed.
Step 4 – The landlord and tenant must show up in court on the date of the hearing. Both parties will be allowed to present evidence, documents, witnesses, etc. The magistrate or judge will then make a ruling on the case. If the landlord wins, the tenant will be ordered to vacate the rental property by a date specified by the judge/magistrate. This date is referred to as a “set-out” date. If the tenant wins the case will be dismissed and they will be allowed to remain in the rental unit.
Note: Either party (landlord or tenant) can appeal the ruling (the case will then be taken to Circuit Court). An appeal case cannot have a jury trial.
Step 5 – If the tenant fails to move out of the rental unit by the date ordered by the court, the landlord can file a request for the Sheriff to evict them from the premises. The Sheriff will come to the property and oversee the eviction, and if necessary, forcibly remove the tenant from the unit.
Note: In some types of cases (“Wrongful Occupation”) the Sheriff will be ordered by the court (when the initial judgement is made) to evict (set-out) the tenant. If the case is an “Unlawful Detainer” or “Ejectment” case, the landlord must then file a request for the Sheriff to evict the tenant.