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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 22691
Experience:  14 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 24+ years
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When a renter owes past due rent (+ around $600.00 water bill),

Resolved Question:

When a renter owes past due rent (+ around $600.00 water bill), and skips out taking part of his possessions, can the property be locked until past due rent is paid. His plan is to move a little at a time until he has everything moved, the landlord cannot rent his property until everything is moved.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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Has the tenant turned off the utilities?
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Why hasn't the landlord filed an eviction action to regain possession of the property?
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

I have been told that the power company demanded a payment in full of the past due electric bill before they would turn on the power at his new residence, he has not turned off any water and sewer service, to my knowledge no utilities have been turned off, I am in the process of filing an eviction notice, to my knowledge the property has been abandoned.

Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.
Well, legally one of the indicators of abandonment is if the tenant has had all the utilities turned off. Others are the removal of most of their personal property and being delinquent on the rent.
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Under WV law, if a tenant has not paid rent and vacates the premises before the end of the lease agreement with the clear intent not to be bound by the lease, the tenant has “abandoned” the residence.
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If a tenant has abandoned the property, a landlord may legally take steps to regain possession of the property before the end of the lease period. To begin this process, the landlord must post a notice in a conspicuous part of the property that requires the tenant to pay the rent owed within one month. If the tenant does not pay the rent within one month then the landlord is entitled to possession and the right of the tenant to the leased property is ended. Landlords have a right to recover all rent owed up to the time when they became entitled to possession of the property. W.Va. Code §37-6-6(a).
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So before you could consider the place abandoned, you would have to post the required notice and demand for rent on the front door of the property. Legally only after that month expires can you go ahead and retake possession of the property and change the locks to secure the premises.
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But if you are filing for a summary eviction, you will be able to get possession much sooner than by claiming abandonment. Landlords most often file summary eviction suits because they quickly get the tenant into court, usually in 5 to 10 days. Unlike unlawful detainer suits, the landlord in a summary eviction suit cannot get a judgement for money, such as unpaid rent, unless the tenant fails to answer the complaint or does not show up for trial. The summary eviction is filed only to get the tenant to leave your residence as quickly as possible, not pay money.
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In summary eviction cases, a trial is scheduled by the court as soon as the landlord files their complaint with the court. The trial can be no sooner then 5 weekdays after the day the landlord files the complaint .

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So if you file for a summary eviction, you could have possession of the property in around 10 days if the tenant doesn't respond.
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Thanks
Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 22691
Experience: 14 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 24+ years
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