West Virginia eviction notices are forms that landlords can serve on their tenants to indicate that they’re terminating the lease and to communicate the cause for termination. West Virginia is one of the few states wherein a property owner isn’t legally required to draft and serve an eviction notice prior to filing for eviction with the court. If the tenant has failed to pay rent, violated their lease, or caused substantial damage to the property, the landlord is within their rights to immediately file a Wrongful Occupation suit to have them evicted.
The only circumstance that requires a notice to quit is if a party to an at-will tenancy wishes to terminate the agreement. In this case, both the landlord and the tenant are required to supply advance notice equal to the length of a rental period.
Notice to Quit for Non-Payment (Optional) – Tenants late on rent may be served this notice to communicate that they must pay or quit the premises.
Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance (Optional) – Warns a tenant that they will be evicted if they do not immediately remedy a lease violation or move out.
Notice to Quit for Property Damage (Optional) – Delivered to a tenant who has deliberately or negligently damaged the landlord’s property warning them that they must vacate the premises immediately.
1-Month Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Tenancy – This notice must be delivered at least one month in advance of the termination of a month-to-month, at-will tenancy. Both the landlord and the tenant are required to give this amount of notice.
- Grace Period: Not mentioned in state statutes
- Non-Payment of Rent (§ 55-3A-1): No notice required
- Lease Non-Compliance (§ 55-3A-1): No notice required
- Periodic Tenancy Termination (§ 37-6-5): One (1) Month
- Property Damage (§ 55-3A-1): No notice required
- Illegal Activity: Not mentioned in state statutes
A landlord with property in West Virginia will need just cause to evict their tenant. That means property damage, non-payment of rent, or non-compliance with the lease agreement. The landlord will be able to immediately terminate the agreement in any of these cases by filing a Wrongful Occupation suit (either a summary eviction or unlawful detainer suit) to have the tenant evicted by court order.
Step 1 – Notice to Quit (Optional)
No eviction notice is required for the landlord to legally evict a tenant. However, they may wish to keep matters out of court to save time and avoid the hassle. Serving a written notice that the lease is terminating, and a chance for recourse, can help solidify the landlord-tenant relationship and provides the tenant with the ability to keep a clean rental record. Regardless, the below forms are optional and are used simply to let the tenant know, out of court, that their lease will terminate. The only mandatory form is the 1-month notice for at-will tenancies with no fixed term. This must be served on a tenant no less than one (1) month prior to lease termination.
- Notice to Quit for Non-Payment
- Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
- Notice to Quit for Property Damage
- 1-Month Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Tenancy
Step 2 – Filing Eviction Suit
If a landlord wishes, they can immediately file a Wrongful Occupation suit with the local magistrate or circuit court. If the landlord believes that they are entitled to damages and rent, they will need to file an Unlawful Detainer suit by submitting a Summons and Complaint in Unlawful Detainer (available at courthouse) with the local circuit or magistrate court. Landlords looking to quickly evict without damages can file a Summary Eviction suit by submitting a Petition for Summary Relief – Wrongful Occupation of Residential Rental Property* stating the address, the cause for eviction, and any financial relief to which they believe they are entitled (only redeemable if the tenant fails to answer as described in step 4 below).
*This is a dynamic PDF form and may not open properly in most web browsers. Downloading and completing the form in Adobe Acrobat DC is recommended.
Step 3 – Hearing Date Set
Next, the court will then set a hearing date. For Summary Eviction suits, the date will be within ten (10) days of filing. Unlawful Detainer cases generally provide for a longer wait before the hearing date. The landlord must arrange to have the legal papers served on the tenant (usually by the sheriff or deputy sheriff but it can be by an employee of the landlord). This service can take place at any time between petitioning and the hearing date.
Note: Either party will be able to request a trial by jury if they do not wish to have the case tried by the magistrate or judge.
Step 4 – Tenant’s Answer
If the tenant wishes to defend their case, they will be required to file a written Answer with the court and have it delivered to the landlord. The tenant will be able to communicate to the magistrate or circuit court if they do not have enough time to prepare and in turn postpone the hearing. Furthermore, if applicable, the tenant will be able to request that the case be removed from magistrate court and transferred to circuit court to be heard by a judge. This removal is only possible if the tenant is being sued for three hundred dollars ($300) or more. A hearing in circuit court will be scheduled usually between seven (7) and ten (10) days from the request.
*Note: A tenant may be able to have their case dismissed by paying all rent owed, as well as any additional fees, interest, or court costs (§ 37-6-23).
Step 5 – Court Hearing
At the hearing, if the tenant does not show and has not submitted a written answer, the court will enter an order for immediate possession by the landlord. Should the tenant attend the hearing, both parties will be able to defend their case by presenting all relevant evidence and witnesses. If the magistrate, judge, or jury rules in favor of the tenant, they will be permitted to stay on the premises. A ruling in favor of the landlord will require that the tenant pay any damages and rent in arrears and vacate the property. The magistrate or judge will set the date by which the tenant must vacate the premises called the “set out date.” If the landlord wins in magistrate court, the tenant will be able to appeal the case to circuit court where both parties will be able to defend their cases once again.
Step 6 – Set Out Date
In Summary Eviction cases, the set out date will be automatically enforced by the sheriff’s office. The defendant will have until that day to gather their possessions and vacate. If they fail to do so, the landlord will be able to hire movers to physically remove the tenant’s property from the premises under the supervision of a deputy sheriff. In Unlawful Detainer cases, the landlord will need to file at the court to have the sheriff enforce the order to vacate.
- Petition for Summary Relief – Wrongful Occupation of Residential Rental Property (Dynamic PDF – download/complete using Adobe Acrobat DC.)
- Signing: Landlord/Landlord’s Attorney, Notary Public
- Summons and Complaint in Unlawful Detainer
- Signing: Landlord/Landlord’s Attorney, Notary Public, Court Clerk
- Answer [Wrongful Occupation] Residential Rental Property or Factory Built Home Site
- Signing: Tenant (Respondent)