The legal landscape is changing at a fast and furious pace due to COVID-19. Here's where things stand with evictions as of April 3, 2020.
On March 25, 2020, the Governor suspended all evictions throughout the state until he lifts the state of emergency. Earlier this week, the Kentucky Supreme Court closed the courts to non-emergency hearings, including evictions, until May 1. It further declared that the courts will not accept eviction filings until 30 days after the courts open again – which would be June 1.
One of my privileges as an attorney is to sit on the Board of Directors for the Greater Lexington Apartment Association and now to serve the emerging Apartment Association of Kentucky, which is a conglomerate of the apartment associations in the state: Lexington, Louisville, and Northern KY. JD Carey is the Executive Director of that group, and he has been working with the Executive Directors of the Lexington group (Brenda Wells) and the Northern KY group (Mark Franks) to get a statement together that requesting that the Governor grant exceptions to his “No Eviction Policy”.
Earlier this week, JD sent a letter to the governor on behalf of the Apartment Association of Kentucky requesting that he grant waivers that would allow landlord to evict tenants who were engaging in criminal activity or were creating a public health concern on the property.
I’m happy to report that the governor has listened to our concerns and has now agreed to allow landlords to request waivers to evict tenants when there is an emergency situation. An emergency situation exists when you have evidence that a tenant (1) is engaging in DANGEROUS CRIMINAL ACTIVITY on the property or (2) is a SERIOUS THREAT TO HEALTH AND PUBLIC SAFETY.
I cannot emphasize enough that, in order for you to get a waiver on this basis, the situation must be an emergency. The criminal activity must not be a minor issue; it has to be a situation where other residents are in danger because of this tenant’s actions. If landlords abuse this waiver request scenario, it will be taken away. So, please tread lightly and carefully.
If you have a question about whether your situation qualifies, please contact your friendly neighborhood attorney.
- Call the police if the person is engaging in dangerous criminal activity. Always.
- If the person is a threat to public health because of a refusal to quarantine, contact the local health department.
- You will still need to give the appropriate notice.
- In URLTA areas, that’s a 14-day notice.
- In other areas, you go by whatever notice your lease requires. If your lease is silent, you give a 30-day notice.
- If the tenant doesn’t vacate the unit or correct the violation, you may then request a waiver to file an eviction against them. You can access the Waiver Form here. I'll also put the link on the Resources tab on the site.
- It’s my understanding that the Governor’s Deputy Counsel will review the requests and will contact you with further instructions on how to proceed.
- Use this form only when you have evidence. Evidence means that someone witnessed the dangerous or unsafe behavior or you have a video recording or something in writing. Someone witnessing suspicious behavior is not evidence of dangerous behavior.
- Use this form only in an emergency situation. Someone smoking marijuana is not dangerous criminal activity. Someone committing assault or domestic violence probably is.
- Contact your local attorney if you have questions.
- Join and support your local apartment association. They’re working hard to make a difference for you and can use all the support that they can get. You can find out more about the Lexington association here, the Louisville association here, and the Northern Kentucky association here. They're full of fantastic people that work hard for the rental industry.
Hang in there – this going to take a while and we’re all figuring out things on the fly. You guys are doing a fantastic job. I appreciate you all. Take care.
As a reminder, our phone lines are down due to COVID-19, but feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my cell.