RENTAL ASSISTANCE UPDATE
Lexington's rental assistance program has become much more landlord-friendly. The Housing Stabilization Program has removed the 45-day waiting period and the 30-day notice requirement from its settlement agreements. This means that if your tenant receives assistance but fails to resume paying rent once the money runs out, you may proceed to give your usual notice to pay or vacate immediately rather than waiting for 45 days then giving a 30-day notice. This is good news that should encourage more landlords to participate in the program and get their rent paid.
The settlement agreement still requires that you waive your legal fees, as well as any late fees, penalties, and interest. You must also verify that the tenant has a current written lease and is not otherwise in material violation of that lease. Because you must waive your legal fees and late fees, it is wise to get started with the rental assistance program as soon as the tenant gets behind on the rent, rather than waiting until an eviction has been filed.
TENANT'S BILL OF RIGHTS
At this point, most Lexington landlords have heard that tenant advocates have been pushing the Urban County Council to adopt several proposals known as the Tenant's Bill of Rights. In my last article, I explained how Lexington tenants already have numerous rights that address each their complaints about bad landlords.
Another remedy to keep in mind is that the city has the ability to fine property owners who fail to keep their properties compliant with the building and housing code. If those fines aren't paid, the city can put a lien on the property, then foreclose on that lien to have the property sold. They can also condemn any property that is not safe for habitation. When tenants complain of landlord's failure to maintain their properties, this should partially be seen as a failure of Code Enforcement and a failure of the city to enforce the laws and remedies that already exist to protect tenants.
Much of this comes down to education. Tenants need to be aware that they can contact Code Enforcement if their landlord is not maintaining the property, and that the law allows them to break the lease and move out without penalty if they give notice and their landlord fails to correct a serious maintenance issue.
The state legislature is back in session, and Representative Kulkarni from Louisville has already filed more anti-landlord legislation. She has again filed a bill that would require a landlord to store tenant property that remains when a landlord takes possession of a property, prepare an inventory of the property, and give notice to the tenant of the inventory to the tenant's last known address as well as post the notice at the property for seven days. If the tenant does not make reasonable efforts to recovery the property within 21 days of the landlord taking possession, the landlord may dispose of the property. Imagine having to do that each time you evict a tenant. Ridiculous. The good news is that this bill is not likely to move forward. But it's worth keeping an eye on. You can read the text of the bill here.
That's all for today. Be sure to check out the video above. If you need help with these or other issues, be sure to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (859) 685-0035. Have a great 2023!
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- Tags: evictions, Housing Stabilization Program, rental assistance, state legislation, Tenant's Bill of Rights