To proceed with evicting a tenant in West Virginia, landlords are not required to give tenants written notice of their intent to evict for non-compliance or unpaid rent evictions. However, they may still choose to deliver an Immediate Notice to Quit as a first step in the process of petitioning for a Wrongful Occupation ruling in their Local Magistrate Court. It is recommended to do so as offering a tenant an attempt to cure could be more cost-effective than eviction through the court.
How to Evict
- Step 1 – Send Eviction Notice to Tenant
- Step 2 – File in Court
- Step 3 – Serve the Tenant
- Step 4 – Attend a Court Hearing
- Step 5 – Obtain a Writ of Possession
- Step 6 – Repossess the Property
- Non-Compliance, Non-Payment of Rent, Illegal Activity (Immediate Notice to Quit) — A landlord may choose to deliver written notice to a tenant when they intend to pursue eviction for non-payment of rent, if the tenant has deliberately or negligently damaged the property, knowingly allowed somebody else to, or if they are in breach of their lease agreement.1 While written notice is not explicitly required in state law, it may still benefit the landlord.
- Month-to-Month (30-Day Notice to Quit) — Both landlords and tenants should deliver 30 days’ notice to the other party when they wish to terminate a month-to-month tenancy.2
Waiting to hear from the tenant may be beneficial if the tenant is likely to comply by vacating before the eviction is taken to court. Moreover, it may be in the landlord and tenant’s best interest to aim for remediation out of court, such as settling late payments. However, once the landlord exhausts all measures, it is recommended to proceed to court and petition for a Wrongful Occupation.
The landlord is responsible for directing the clerk to whom the service of the summons and complaint will be executed. Together, they will be served by a person at least 18 years of age and who is not a party in the case, or the landlord may pay the clerk to have a sheriff deliver the summons and complaint personally.5 If service cannot be completely personally, the landlord has the option to either mail a copy of the summons and complaint by certified mail.6
The tenant has the right to request their case be removed from Magistrate Court and instead heard by a judge in the circuit court for a $300 fee. The defendant may also request a trial by jury. In either case, removing the case from the magistrate court and bringing it to the circuit court can delay the hearing date another 7-10 days.8
If a ruling is given in favor of the landlord, the judge will set a date for the tenant to leave the property. There is no uniform timeline specified in state law for which the tenant’s final deadline to leave must be. If the tenant still hasn’t left the property by that deadline issued by the court, the landlord must request a writ of possession so a sheriff can oversee the eviction.9
Once the court has issued a writ of possession, a sheriff will be directed to return possession of the property to the landlord.
In wrongful occupation eviction cases, the court may have already scheduled a “set out” day prior to the trial, and a sheriff may be present on the final day in court to enforce the order immediately following a ruling.10
Video: Evictions in West Virginia
- § 55-3A-1(3)
- § 37-6-5
- § 55-3A-1(4c)
- WV Rules of Civil Proc, Rule 4 (c)
- § 55-3A-1
- § 55-3A-1(4c)