As I mentioned in my last update, millions of dollars in rental assistance are still available. In Lexington, the Housing Stabilization Program has now opened the application process for tenants to receive a second round of funding. That means tenants who received HSP funding already are again eligible to receive additional assistance. The caveat is that the tenant may only receive a total of 15 months of funding.
So, if your tenant received 10 months of funding already, that tenant is now eligible to receive up to five months of additional funding. The same eligibility requirements are in place, and the same strings are attached to the money – no late fees, no legal fees, and a 75-day waiting period.
As I noted last time, make no promises unless you’re certain that you’re willing to accept the assistance money. If you decide to pursue the assistance, the court may not allow you to change your mind later. Make your communications to your tenant clear from the beginning about whether you will accept rental assistance and participate in that program.
- Senate Bill 21 – This bill was filed by Senator Reggie Thomas from Lexington. It would put significant limits on a landlord’s ability to charge a screening fee to applicants, require written screening criteria and additional notices to applicants about the screening process, and allows the applicant to recover a penalty of $150.00 from the landlord if the landlord violates the section.
The most important part of this bill, however, is the second section. It limits how a landlord may use eviction records and criminal records in screening tenants, including limiting the crimes and type criminal history that a landlord may consider in evaluating applicants.
This bill would certainly make life more difficult for landlords. You can read the bill at this link.
- House Bill 131 – I forgot to mention this one in the video, but it’s important. It would give local governments the authority to adopt rental control laws in development areas. It’s literally a one-sentence bill that gives that authority. You can read it here.
- House Bill 159 – This bill would expunge all forcible detainer judgments against tenants one year after entry. This means you would not know if the tenant had been evicted based on court records. You can read the bill at this link.
- House Bill 160 – This bill addresses how a landlord is to deal with property that is found in a rental unit that the takes possession of. It requires the landlord to store the property, send a notice to the tenant via certified mail AND post the notice to the door for seven days. If the tenant does not make reasonable efforts to recover the property within 21 days, the landlord may then dispose of the property. This bill creates a host of questions and creates new obligations for landlords. You can read it here.
- House Bill 152 – This is the worst of them all. It’s a 62-page bill that would overhaul Kentucky’s Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act. Life would immediately get much more complicated for landlords and tenants if this bill was passed. The only winners would be the attorneys who get to figure out its meaning and application. You can read it here.
Most of the bills mentioned above are unlikely to move, being stuck in committee, but they are all worth monitoring and worth a call to your state legislators about. You can look up your legislators at this link.
That’s it for today. If you need legal help, be sure to reach out to your friendly neighborhood attorney. Most issues are worth some investment on the front end to avoid bigger issues and expense on the back end. If you need me, I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day.