Every state, including West Virginia, has its own set of laws that the lender must comply with when it comes to foreclosure. If you are facing foreclosure of your home in West Virginia, you should find out all you can about the key features of your state’s foreclosure laws, including the type of notice you'll get before the foreclosure sale, your right to cure the mortgage default, and your liability for a deficiency judgment after the foreclosure.
Below you’ll find a summary of some of the key features of West Virginia foreclosure law along with citations to the statutes so you can read the law yourself.
The citations to West Virginia’s foreclosure statutes are: West Virginia Code Sections 38-1-3 through 38-1-15.
We’ve summarized important parts of West Virginia foreclosure laws below. You can find more detailed articles on various aspects of West Virginia foreclosure law in Nolo’s West Virginia Foreclosure Law Center.
West Virginia foreclosures are usually nonjudicial, which means the foreclosure takes place outside of court. Judicial foreclosures (when the lender files a lawsuit in state court) are also allowed. Since the majority of foreclosures in West Virginia are nonjudicial, this article focuses on that process.
West Virginia law requires two foreclosure notices: a notice of default and a notice of sale.
Notice of default. After the borrower has been in default for five days, the lender may personally deliver or mail a notice of default to the borrower's last known address. W. Va. Code § 46A-2-106.
Notice of sale. A reasonable amount of time before the sale takes place, the trustee (the third-party that handles foreclosures in West Virginia) must send the borrower a notice of sale by certified mail. W. Va. Code § 38-1-4. See also Joy v. Chessie Employees Fed. Credit Union, 411 S.E.2d 261 (W.Va. 1991). Under West Virginia law, the notice is complete when the trustee mails the notice of sale, regardless of whether the mail is returned as refused or is undeliverable. W.Va. Code § 38-1-4.
The trustee must also publish a copy of the notice of sale in a newspaper in the county where the property is located, generally once a week for two weeks. W. Va. Code § 38-1-4, § 59-3-2.
“Reinstating” is when you catch up on the missed payments (plus fees and costs) in order to stop a foreclosure. (Learn more about reinstatement to avoid foreclosure.)
In West Virginia, the notice of default must give the borrower ten days to cure the default and reinstate the loan. The borrower loses the right to reinstate after three defaults. W. Va. Code § 46A-2-106.
In some states, you can redeem (repurchase) your home within a certain period of time after the foreclosure. West Virginia law does not permit foreclosed homeowners to redeem the home after a foreclosure. (To get details on redemption after a foreclosure in West Virginia, see Nolo’s article If I lose my home to foreclosure in West Virginia, can I get it back?)
When the total mortgage debt exceeds the foreclosure sale price, the difference is called a “deficiency.” Some states allow the lender to seek a personal judgment (called a “deficiency judgment”) against the borrower for this amount, while other states prohibit deficiency judgments with what are called anti-deficiency laws.
In West Virginia, the foreclosing party can get a deficiency judgment by filing a lawsuit after the nonjudicial foreclosure. (For more information on deficiency law in West Virginia, see West Virginia Laws on Post-Foreclosure Deficiency.)
After giving notice to vacate, the purchaser may initiate an unlawful detainer (eviction) lawsuit against the foreclosed homeowners to evict them from the property.