2.4 Responsibility for Repairs

The responsibility for repairs and upgrades may be the responsibility of either the landlord or the tenant depending on the type of repair, who caused the damages, and what repairs and upgrades were agreed to in the written lease.

The landlord is responsible for paying for and making all repairs to the rental property and common areas as are necessary to keep the premises in good condition and to maintain compliance with all relevant health, safety, fire, and building codes during the term of the lease. W.Va. Code §37-6-30.

The landlord is not responsible for making repairs to damage that was caused by the neglect or carelessness of the tenant, or others on the premises with the permission of the tenant. Even if those repairs would otherwise be required by law. W.Va. Code §37-6-30. The tenants are liable for repayment of any repairs made necessary due to their negligence or carelessness. Failure to pay such damages is a legal ground for,and may result in, eviction.

Generally, routine repairs are the responsibility of the landlord as a part of the services included with rent, however this can legally be altered by express agreement by all parties to the lease. Tenants do not have the right to waive their right to live in habitable housing and it is the duty of the landlord to maintain the property in the condition of habitability imposed by law. General repairs not affecting the warranty of habitability may be the responsibility of the tenant if the tenant has expressly agreed to this provision in the rental agreement.

If the tenant has a written lease, oral promises by the landlord to make repairs which are not included in the written document are not enforceable. For an agreement to make such repairs binding on either party, the oral agreement must be written into the written lease. Oral agreements and oral leases are very difficult to prove in court in the event of a disagreement between the parties.

Landlords are not generally responsible for changes to private living areas. In most cases, any upgrades desired by the tenant must be made at his or her own expense and the landlord has the right to require that the tenant remove any changes at the termination of tenancy or pay to have the changes removed.

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