If you are being evicted in the state of West Virginia, you may not know how to proceed. Learning about the eviction process in West Virginia can help you understand your rights and options under the law. After reading this guide, you will understand the steps involved in the eviction process in West Virginia and how long each step will take.
Most states require that landlords give tenants a certain amount of notice before commencing eviction proceedings in a court of law. However, the eviction process in West Virginia does not require notice for most eviction lawsuits to proceed.
If you have broken tenets of your lease, damaged the property, or failed to pay your rent, landlords in West Virginia are allowed to take you to court for an eviction hearing immediately, without even a day of notice.
The only circumstance under which the eviction process in West Virginia requires notice is when a month-to-month or week-to-week lease is being terminated without cause, in which case landlords are required to give one rental period of advance notice. This period of advance notice may give you some time to work out an arrangement with the landlord (even if the arrangement simply allows you to stay a little longer while you find a new place to live).
Court Filings and Hearings
If you have been late with rent or violated your lease, your landlord can immediately begin the eviction process in West Virginia courts. Your landlord will file a complaint with the clerk of the court, which will begin an eviction lawsuit.
You will be served with a copy of the complaint, which will tell you the reason that you are being evicted, as well as a summons, which tells you when and where to appear in court for an eviction hearing. The hearing can be scheduled for just five days later, so time is of the essence if you wish to answer the complaint.
If you do not answer the complaint within five days, your landlord may win the court case automatically. You may be able to fight your eviction case successfully in court if your landlord has behaved improperly (for instance, by discriminating against you). Check with an attorney familiar with the eviction process in West Virginia to understand your full range of legal options.
If your landlord wins at the eviction hearing, the judge will issue a court order that states when you must vacate your property. If you do not vacate by the time specified in the court order, you can be forcibly removed by the sheriff's department.
Your landlord, even at this stage, is not allowed to put your belongings on the curb, change your locks, or shut off your utilities to force you to leave. Only the sheriff's department has the right to forcibly evict you, and only after the legal eviction process in West Virginia has been followed. If you feel your landlord has violated your rights, you should talk to a landlord/tenant lawyer.