West Virginia Renter’s Rights for Repairs

West Virginia Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Last Updated: August 19, 2023

In general, a landlord in West Virginia has to repair any issues at a rental property that could affect a tenant’s health or safety. The landlord must repair issues within a reasonable time of getting written notice from the tenant about the needed repairs.

West Virginia Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs

West Virginia landlords are responsible for keeping all of the following in good working condition:

  • Plumbing.
  • Required utilities.
  • Heating (between October 1 – April 30 of each year).
  • Hot water.
  • Garbage containers and removal (for multiple-unit rentals only).
  • Required smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors (except routine maintenance).
  • Provided appliances.
  • Common areas (for multiple-unit rentals only).
  • Features that affect health, safety, or habitability (especially if provided for in the lease).

If any of the above stops working properly, and the tenant isn’t at fault for the damage, the landlord is the one responsible for making the repairs necessary to fix it, except as noted.

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What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in West Virginia?

West Virginia tenants are responsible for repairing any damage they cause to the property which affects health and safety.

Requesting Repairs in West Virginia

West Virginia tenants typically must request repairs by providing the landlord notice about the issue that needs repair. Landlords are still liable for repairs they know are necessary, even without a tenant’s notice, but notice (especially written) helps prove the timing and details of a landlord’s knowledge about the issue.

How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in West Virginia?

West Virginia landlords have a reasonable amount of time under the specific circumstances to make repairs after getting notice about an issue. This means, for example, that emergencies must be handled immediately, while less pressing and more complex issues may take several weeks to resolve.

Since the law doesn’t specify a particular amount of time for repairs, it’s the renter’s responsibility to express their expectation about how long is reasonable, when giving a landlord notice about an issue.

Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in West Virginia?

West Virginia landlords can refuse to make repairs, when the issue was caused by the tenant’s wrongful conduct, or when the tenant is in default on rent.

Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in West Virginia?

West Virginia landlords are not required to pay for alternative accommodation while they conduct repairs. However, a situation that requires the tenant to move out for repairs may be a constructive eviction that lets the tenant end the lease and stop paying rent after moving out.

Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in West Virginia

West Virginia tenants can cancel the rental agreement if the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs, in many situations. They might also sue for damages (including damages related to inconvenience, not just reduction in value of the property) or get an injunction to force repairs.

Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in West Virginia?

West Virginia tenants are not allowed to unilaterally withhold rent. To receive a legal excuse from paying any part of the rent, a tenant must have a court order.

Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in West Virginia?

West Virginia tenants are not allowed to arrange for repairs and deduct from the rent.

Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in West Virginia?

West Virginia tenants can break their lease for failure to repair issues that weren’t the tenant’s responsibility or other substantial and uncorrected breaches of the rental agreement. If the landlord disagrees that there’s a substantial breach, this may require a court process.

Can the Tenant Sue in West Virginia?

West Virginia tenants can sue to force repairs or recover monetary damages (including damages for personal inconvenience related to living in substandard property), when the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs after proper notice.

Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in West Virginia?

West Virginia tenants can report landlords for code violations that affect health or safety. Tenants should usually report to the local inspections or code enforcement department. If an inspecting officer finds a violation, the tenant could cancel the rental agreement, or sue to force repairs.

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Landlord Retaliation in West Virginia

It’s illegal for West Virginia landlords to retaliate against tenants who assert their rights under the landlord-tenant relationship in the rental agreement (such as reporting the landlord’s failure to maintain the property). A tenant can claim retaliation as a defense against eviction, or can sue the landlord affirmatively, claiming retaliation.

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