West Virginia Supreme Court: WVCCPA does not apply to Landlord/Tenant Relationships
On October 12, 2017, The West Virginia Supreme Court issued a decision in State of West Virginia ex rel. v. Copper Beech Townhome Communities Twenty-Six, LLC, No. 17-0228, holding that the West Virginia Consumer Credit Protection Act (“WVCCPA”) does not apply to relationships between a landlord and tenant under a lease for residential real property. In reaching its decision, the Court noted that “in the forty-three years since the [WV]CCPA was enacted, this case is the first occasion in which any party has asserted before this Court that the Act applies to and regulates the landlord-tenant relationship.” The Court reasoned:
A general lease of residential real property could not properly be characterized as either a “consumer credit sale” or as a “consumer loan.” (Emphasis added). The only potential category a residential lease of real property could fit into is a “consumer lease.” However, W.Va. Code § 46A-1102(14)(a) provides that a “consumer lease means a lease of goods.” (Emphasis added.) Clearly, a residential lease of real property made between a landlord and a tenant is not “a lease of goods.”
The Court was further unwilling to expand the plain language of the WVCCPA “[b]ecause the landlord-tenant relationship is so pervasively regulated” in other articles of West Virginia Code, exhibiting the lack of legislative intent for such a relationship to be governed by the provisions of the WVCCPA. If you have any questions concerning this article, please contact Jared Tully or Alex Zurbuch.
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Courtney Rogers Perrin practices in the Nashville office as a member of the Firm’s Electronic Payments and Blockchain practice groups. She assists clients with regulatory compliance, contract negotiations, acquisitions and fund formation relating to credit card processing and fintech enterprises, including smart contracts and virtual currency matters.