In West Virginia, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by WV Code § 37-6-30. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.
Applicable Dwelling Types in West Virginia
The implied warranty of habitability in West Virginia does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.
|Dwelling Type||Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?|
|Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs||Not specifically addressed|
|RV parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Mobile home parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Condos||Not specifically addressed|
|Hotels/Motels||Not specifically addressed|
Landlord Responsibilities in West Virginia
The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability. Not all of them are requirements in West Virginia, as indicated below.
Note: Some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.
|Habitability Issue||Landlord Responsibility?|
|Provide windows and doors that are in good repair.||Not addressed|
|Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks.||Not addressed|
|Provide hot and cold running water.||Yes|
|Provide working HVAC equipment.||Yes|
|Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting.||Yes|
|Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking||Not addressed|
|Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet).||Yes|
|Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services).||Multi-family only|
|Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe.||Not addressed|
|Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe.||Not addressed|
|Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean.||Not addressed|
|Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials.||Not addressed|
|Provide working smoke detectors||Not addressed|
|Provide a mailbox.||Not addressed|
|Provide working wiring for one telephone jack.||Not addressed|
|Provide working kitchen appliances.||Not addressed|
|Provide working carbon monoxide detector.||Not addressed|
|Provide a working washer/dryer.||Not addressed|
Landlords in West Virginia must maintain the rental property (and all common areas) to be a safe and habitable condition and should follow all building and fire codes. Even if there is no written lease, a landlord is obligated to be compliant with the implied warranty of habitability.
It is the landlord’s responsibly to supply heat during October 1st and April 30th to make the unit habitable.
Tenant’s Right to Repairs in West Virginia
Landlords are required to make and pay for any repairs to make the unit livable that are not caused by the tenant.
- Sending Notice – If a tenant request repairs, they must put their request in writing to the landlord. The landlord will then have 14 days to make necessary repairs.
- Landlord Access –Tenants are required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs during reasonable hours. Additionally, a landlord must give tenants “reasonable” notice, unless it’s an emergency.
Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made in West Virginia
If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.
- Withhold Rent – West Virginia landlord-tenant law does not allow tenants to withhold rent in response to habitability issues.
- Repair and Deduct – Tenants have the right to hire a professional to make the repairs and deduct a reasonable amount from their monthly rent.
- Lawsuit – Tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
- Reporting to Public Officials – Landlords can be reported on a city or county level to housing inspectors if they are found to be in violation of any local housing codes.
Landlord Retaliation in West Virginia
It is illegal for a landlord to increase rent, decrease services or threaten to bring an action for possession if a tenant:
- Complains to a governmental agency for a building or housing code violation that materially affects health and safety.
- Complains to the landlord of a defect at the premises.
- Has organized or becomes a member of a tenant’s union or similar group.