3.6 Death of the Tenant

In 2012, the West Virginia legislature passed a law changing the liability of those who come into possession of a lease agreement after the death of the original tenant. This amended law became effective on all leases entered into or renewed on or after July 1, 2012.

Rent may be recovered from the tenant, or other person owing it, or his or her heir, personal representative, devisee, or assignee who has succeeded to the tenant’s estate in the premises. But no assignee is liable for rent that became due before his or her interest began. The heirs, personal representatives, or devisees of the tenant are liable for the rent owed to the extent and in the manner in which they are liable for the other debts of the tenant’s estate. W.Va. Code §37-6-11(a).

Unless otherwise provided by law, the heirs, personal representatives, devisees, or assignees of the deceased tenant may legally terminate a lease prior to its expiration. W.Va. Code §37-6-11(b)(1).

Termination of the lease becomes effective on the last day of the month that is two months after: W.Va. Code §37-6-11(b)(2).

1. The date on which the notice is hand-delivered to the other party of the lease or

2. The date on which the notice, addressed to the other party to the lease, is deposited in the United States mail, postage prepaid, as evidenced by the postmark

Termination of the lease does not relieve the tenant’s estate from liability for rent owed before or during the two month period or any amount necessary to restore the premises to the condition before the commencement of the lease, with the exception of general wear and tear. W.Va. Code §37-6-11(b)(3).

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