Ex post facto, or applicable?
June 15, 2011 2:24 AM   Subscribe

Will a certain newly passed law likely be applicable to my tenancy, even though it began before the law went into effect?

I'm in West Virginia, US.

I signed a lease and began a tenancy in 2008. This new law took effect in June, 2011. I ended my tenancy in August, 2011.

The law adds some procedural requirements relating to landlords' return of tenants' security deposits.

Can this law apply to my tenancy (which ended after it took effect), or not (because it began before it took effect)?

I realize I can't get a definitive answer online, but if anyone has a legal background that might shed some light here, it would be appreciated.
posted by teatime to Law & Government (4 answers total)
Best answer: Section 37-6A-6(b): "The provisions of this article do not apply to agreements for the payment of security deposits entered into prior to the effective date of this article."

IAAL but IANYL and I certainly proclaim no expertise in WV law. But it seems to me that your lease would include, among other things, an agreement for the payment of a security deposit. If you entered that agreement prior to the effective date of that law, it would likewise appear that it does not apply to your lease.
posted by holterbarbour at 2:37 AM on June 15, 2011

Response by poster: holterbarbour: Yes, I read that provision about 30 seconds after posting, and I suspect that you are right.

Still, that language seems just a small bit ambiguous to me, and further a WV newspaper says, "The new law is in effect for all new and current leases but not expired leases." (Of course, the press is pretty poor at reporting such things accurately.)

So, I'm only about 90% convinced that it is inapplicable.
posted by teatime at 2:46 AM on June 15, 2011

Best answer: Do the lawyer thing, and send a letter to your previous landlord as if you are going to take him to court if he doesn't comply with the new law.

Welcome to being a lawyer.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:48 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, I'm betting that law is going to get tested in court very quickly. What constitutes an agreement for the purposes of this law? The terms of the lease, or the narrow case(s) where your landlord said "hey, can I give you the sec. dep. a week late?" and you agree to it?

My guess is that the legislature intended the latter, and landlords will claim it is the former.
posted by gjc at 5:25 AM on June 15, 2011

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