H. B. 2234
(By Delegate Williams)
[Introduced January 14, 1999; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section three, article three-a,
chapter fifty-five of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to
authorizing the court to award damages to landlords for
damage caused to the leasehold premises by an evicted
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section three, article three-a, chapter fifty-five of
the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one,
as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3A. REMEDIES FOR WRONGFUL OCCUPATION OF RESIDENTIAL
§55-3A-3. Proceedings in court; final order.
(a) If at the time of the hearing there has been no
appearance, answer or other responsive pleading filed by the tenant, the court shall make and enter an order granting
immediate possession of the property to the petitioner.
(b) In the case of a petition alleging arrearage in rent, if
shall file files an answer raising the defense of
breach by the landlord of a material covenant upon which the duty
to pay rent depends, the court shall proceed to a hearing on
such the issues.
(c) In the case of a petition alleging a breach by the
tenant or damage to the property, if the defendant
files an answer raising defenses to the claim or claims set forth
in the petition the court shall proceed to a hearing on such the
(d) Continuances of the hearing provided for in this section
shall be for cause only and the judge or magistrate
shall may not
grant a continuance to either party as a matter of right. If a
continuance is granted upon request by a tenant, the tenant shall
be required to pay into court any periodic rent becoming due
during the period of such the continuance.
(e) At the conclusion of a hearing held under the provisions
of subsection (b) or (c) of this section if the court
finds that the tenant is in wrongful occupation of the rental
property or that the tenant has negligently or intentionally
caused damage to the premises, or both, the court shall may make
and enter an order granting immediate possession of the property to the petitioner, or make and enter an order granting judgment
for monetary damages, or make and enter an order granting
immediate possession as well as judgment for monetary damages.
In the case of a proceeding under subsection (a) of this section
the court may also make a written finding and include in its
order such relief on the issue of arrearage in the payment of
rent as the evidence may require. Any moneys paid into court by
the tenant in accordance with the provisions of this section may
be ordered to be disbursed to the parties as may be appropriate
under the findings of the court.
(f) Taking into consideration such factors as the nature of
the property (i.e., furnished or unfurnished) the possibility of
relative harm to the parties and other material facts deemed
relevant by the court in considering the time in which the tenant
might reasonably be expected to vacate the premises, the court
shall in its order specify the time by which the tenant must
remove himself from the property. The order shall further
provide that if the tenant still wrongfully occupies the property
beyond such time the sheriff shall forthwith remove him, taking
such precautions as are necessary to guard against damage to the
property of the landlord and the tenant.
(g) Absent an issue of title, retaliation, or breach of
warranty, and in the event of an appeal wherein the tenant
prevails, if the term of the lease has expired the relief ordered by the appellate court shall be for monetary damages only and
shall may not restore the tenant to possession. During the
pendency of any such appeal no tenant shall be entitled to remain
in possession of the leasehold if the period of the tenancy has
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize the court to
award damages to landlords for damage caused to the leasehold
premises by an evicted tenant.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.