In my last update I talked about the new procedures in eviction courts throughout the state when the case is based on the tenant’s failure to pay rent.
- On the first court appearance, if the tenant fails to appear, you will be granted a judgment.
- If the tenant appears, the judge will advise both parties of the state and local rental assistance options and of the CDC Declaration Form and will reschedule the matter for two weeks.
- If the tenant signs the CDC Declaration Form, the matter is being rescheduled for January.
- If the tenant fails to sign the CDC Form, you may proceed to get a judgment.
At this point, lots of tenants are signing the CDC form, which means lots of cases are being rescheduled for January. By signing the CDC form, the tenant is declaring that he is using his best efforts to make timely partial payments. Hopefully, courts and tenant attorneys are emphasizing this duty to tenants. Theoretically, that means that you’re going to have some tenants who come to you with partial payments.
As I discussed in my last post, that creates a bit of dilemma for you. If you accept the payment, you may waive your ability to evict the tenant in January at your scheduled court date. If you refuse the payment, you lose out on the money, which is in short supply for many right now.
Since so many cases are being rescheduled for January right now, any cases that get filed later in the year or in early 2021 are going to be pushed back, likely into February and beyond. So, giving up your place in line is akin to giving up another month’s rent.
However, there is a way to accept the money AND retain your ability to evict the tenant if without going back through the entire process of giving notice and filing a new eviction case.
KRS 383.675 allows you to proceed with an eviction despite accepting a partial payment if both parties agree. Even in areas where KRS 383.675 does not apply, a written agreement between the parties would preserve your ability to move forward with your eviction. Click here for a post listing the areas where the URLTA applies.
So, you can perhaps avoid the partial payment dilemma by requiring your tenants to sign the agreement as a condition for accepting their partial payment. If the tenant signs the agreement, you may freely accept partial payments towards the debt and proceed to evict in January if the matter is not resolved by then.
If the tenant won’t sign the agreement, you’re back deciding whether the money from the tenant is enough to give up your place in the January eviction line.
I’ve created a form that you can use for this situation. I’m providing it for $150.00 and you can customize it for each of your tenants. If you’d like a copy, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last thing I’ll mention today is that I spoke with a rental owner last week that intends to file criminal charges against a tenant for committing perjury by signing the CDC Declaration Form. I’ll let you know if that case actually gets prosecuted. It would be good news for us all if it did.