A West Virginia lease agreement is a legal document used in situations when renting residential, commercial, or other property types. The person who rents the property is called the tenant (lessee), while the person from whom it is rented is the landlord (lessor).
Before drafting the lease agreement, the tenant fills out a rental application in which they state personal data, employment and salary data, and references from their previous landlords. This procedure is important for the landlord because he can ensure whether the potential tenant can fulfill his obligations.
When the landlord is sure they want to rent the apartment or house to the tenant, they start negotiating the terms of the lease. The terms relate to the duration of the lease, the amount of the rent, the due date, and other important details that should find a place in the lease agreement.
So let's see what this important document is all about.
West Virginia Lease Agreement Required Disclosures
Mandatory disclosures must be included in the lease agreement because they are required by federal or state law. The West Virginia lease agreement must contain the following:
Lead-based paint disclosure. This federally mandated disclosure requires the landlord to notify the tenant if there is a presence of lead-based paint on the leased property. Also, this obligation applies to buildings built before 1981.
Non-refundable fee disclosure. The landlord can charge the tenant a fee for pets, for the rental application, or something else. But if some or all of them are non-refundable, the contract must clearly define it. (§ 37-6A-1(14))
West Virginia Lease Agreement Optional Disclosures
The following disclosures are optional but are often included in lease agreements in West Virginia:
Asbestos disclosure. If there is any type of asbestos on the leased property, the landlord must notify the tenant. They must also provide instructions on how to use the property without disturbing the asbestos fibers in the structure.
Bed bugs disclosure. In case there have been bedbug infestations on the property in the past, the landlord must inform the tenant because this may have a direct impact on the lease. The landlord must also provide the tenant with re-infestation prevention instructions.
Smoking disclosure. The landlord should disclose if smoking is prohibited on the property or if there is a designated area for smokers.
Consequences of Non-Disclosure
The tenant may sue the landlord for damages caused by health and safety hazards if the landlord fails to disclose the presence of such substances and particles at the beginning of the lease.
The landlord can also be fined up to $19,507 if they fail to include a lead-based paint disclosure in the lease agreement. (24 CFR § 30.65)
West Virginia Lease Agreement Security Deposits
Security Deposit Maximum
The amount of the security deposit has no legal limit; therefore, the landlord is free to request whatever amount from the tenant.
Security Deposit Return
The security deposit must be returned within either 60 days from the end of the lease or 45 days of a new tenant moving in, whichever is shorter.
In other words, the landlord has a maximum of 60 days to return the security deposit, but if a new tenant moves in before that, they must return it within 45 days of the new tenant's move-in date. (§ 37-6A-1)
When is Rent Due in West Virginia? (Grace Period)
Depending on the frequency of payments (weekly vs. periodic), the grace period in the West Virginia law can vary.
The rent payment grace period for periodic payments is five (5) days. Likewise, if the rent is due weekly, the tenant has three (3) extra days after the due date to make the payment. (§ 46B-3-9(c))
West Virginia Rent Late Fees
There is a provision that gives a landlord a right to charge late fees. It is 5% of the periodic payment or $15, whichever is less. (§ 46B-3-9(c))
West Virginia NSF Checks
If the rent is paid with a check that is later determined to be invalid, the charge for paying with a bad check can be up to $25. (§ 61-3-39e)
West Virginia Landlord’s Right to Enter
As the regulations do not require notifying the tenant before entering the rental unit, the landlord is free to enter the property at any time.
West Virginia Lease Agreement FAQ
A written lease agreement in West Virginia is legally binding when both parties sign it.
A West Virginia lease agreement should contain the following:
Details on the parties
Specifics of the real estate being rented
The lease’s length
The amount, due date, and mode of payment for rent
Security deposit amount
Right of entry
Household rules, utility costs, the choice to sublease
The parties’ signatures
You can download your own lease agreement from our website.
There are different types of leases depending on your needs, such as the length of time you intend to occupy the space and the intended purpose of the rented property (residential vs. commercial).
Choose the one you find most suitable.
After you agree on the terms of the contract and sign the lease, there are some key things to pay attention to before you move in. Namely, you should:
Take a copy of the contract.
Notarize your contract if you want more safety.
Arrange a day to inspect the rented unit.
Create a condition checklist for the rented unit.
Pay the rent and security deposit.
Take the keys and move in.