The area of landlord and tenant law is potentially complicated, and even confusing, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case at hand. Many times, even if the relevant legal issues in a case are straightforward, the opposing parties’ relationship deteriorated to such a degree that makes it difficult to negotiate or communicate about the matters at hand. Not only can an experienced attorney in landlord-tenant law represent his or her client’s best interest in an action brought in court, but he or she can relieve the client of much of the burden of dealing with the opposing side, and expertly addressing the issues of the case.
In West Virginia, both landlords and tenants maintain rights and responsibilities under the law when they enter into a contractual relationship. For example, the landlord is responsible for ensuring the premises he or she is renting is fit and habitable for living purposes. Likewise, the tenant is responsible for notifying the landlord if there is a problem which directly affects the fitness or habitability of the premises. This can often include things like lack of heat or water. Upon this notification, the landlord is expected to take action within a reasonable amount of time. Another example is the landlord’s right to collect rent and the tenant’s corresponding responsibility to pay rent on time, as is provided in the applicable lease agreement.
In addition to the above, landlords in West Virginia maintain many other responsibilities. Some of them include:
Keeping up with general maintenance of the property, as well as complying with relevant building and health codes;
Installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as ensuring the premises always have working units;
Liability for a tenant’s personal property if it is damaged by landlord negligence;
Making appropriate repairs as outlined in the lease agreement, even if the damage was made by a tenant.
Tenants in the state of West Virginia also maintain additional responsibilities besides those previously mentioned. They include, but are not limited to:
Carrying responsibilities as outlined in the specific terms of the lease, such as paying for utilities;
Reporting any damage to the landlord that was caused by the tenant or one of the tenant’s approved guests, as well as paying for the necessary repairs;
Behaving in a way that does not interfere with other tenant’s use and enjoyment of the premises;
Maintaining smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, specifically by replacing batteries in the units when necessary;
Taking steps to protect their personal property from damage, which may include taking out a renter’s insurance policy.
Landlord-Tenant Defense Attorney
If you were served with a complaint or other legal paperwork as a landlord or tenant, the experienced hospitality law attorneys at Hendrickson & Long can assist you in your defense. We have successful experience representing clients in many types of landlord-tenant matters. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your matter in our Charleston, West Virginia office.