3.11 Judgment for Possession

If the tenant does not provide a written answer to the eviction notice or appear in court, the landlord will be given a judgment for possession, which will require the tenant to vacate the rental property by a certain date. The court may order an immediate move or give the tenant more time depending on the circumstances (such as giving additional time to move as a reasonable accommodation to a tenant with disabilities). W.Va. Code §55-3A-3(a),(f).

File a written answer to the notice

Use the form attached to the summons for the tenant’s written answer. The tenant is required to mail or deliver one copy of the completed form to the magistrate court and mail or deliver one copy to the landlord and keep one copy

Appear in court on the date specified in the eviction notice

Ask to have the eviction suit moved from magistrate court to the circuit court. The tenant must file a form and pay a fee for this option. If the tenant cannot afford the fee, the tenant may file an Affidavit of Indigency, which, if granted, will waive the fee for moving the action to circuit court and also waive the fee for a jury trial if the tenant asks for one

File a counterclaim

If the landlord is trying to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent only, an eviction suit must be dismissed if the tenant pays all rent, with interests and costs, and all other fees any time before the beginning of the trial. The landlord does not have to accept a partial payment. W.Va. Code §37-6-22.

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