In most parts of the state, the courts are accepting eviction filings, so I wanted to give an update on what I’m seeing and hearing:
- Some counties (Clark, Madison, Mercer) are interpreting the Kentucky Supreme Court’s order allowing evictions to proceed as requiring ALL landlords to give a 30-day notice prior to filing an eviction. I think that is the wrong interpretation of the order, as the 30-day language in the order is only mentioned in connection with the CARES Act. What’s more, if every property was required to give a 30-day notice, there would be no reason to also have to fill out the Verification Form.
So, you may want to check with your local court clerk to see how they’re interpreting the order. The order is poorly worded, but it makes no sense to require everyone to give a 30-day notice when you’re basing it on the CARES Act, which doesn’t apply to everyone.
- The lawsuit between the Northern Kentucky Apartment Association and the Governor has not been resolved yet. As a result, law enforcement officers are still directed by the Governor NOT to enforce eviction judgments. The good news in central Kentucky is that most constables and sheriffs have decided to enforce eviction orders and perform set-outs as long as the judge signs off on them. Still, you may want to check with your local constable or sheriff to find out their position on the issue.
- The President recently issued an Executive Order, part of which addressed evictions and housing. As I read the order, it really has little legal effect. It seems to do nothing more than to set policy. It directs the heads of various federal agencies and departments to look for ways to minimize evictions and to find money for rental assistance. So, there may be more to come, especially if Congress gets involved, but the President’s actions have not changed things yet.
- The Kentucky Supreme Court has created an Eviction Diversion pilot program for Jefferson County. You can read the order outlining the program here. Here are the major parts:
- The landlord files an eviction notice form with the court, which schedules an initial hearing.
- The notice is served on the tenant, along with a summons for the initial hearing and written information about rental assistance available to tenants through local funding agencies.
- At the initial hearing, both the landlord and the tenant are informed verbally that local funding agencies may be able to provide rental assistance to cover the unpaid rent.
- Unless the tenants fails to appear or the case is dismissed by the landlord, the matter is then postponed for seven days and another hearing is scheduled.
- The matter will presumably be heard and judgment considered at the second hearing, unless a jury trial is requested by the tenant.
While it is not listed in the order, the press release for the project also stated that the Louisville Metro Government and Legal Aid would have a representative present for each hearing.
So, this project could presumably be expanded to other areas if funding exists to support it. Time will tell how effective it is. And it will certainly delay a process that has already been delayed for almost five months. But we can all hope that it will be successful for everyone.
- I cannot emphasize enough to do your research to verify and be able to prove, to the greatest extent possible, that your property is not covered by the CARES Act. Unless you check the loan databases, you have no way of knowing whether the loan on your property has been conveyed or assigned to a federal government program. You can access these databases on the front page of my site at the bottom.
That’s it for today. I’ll update you as things develop. Have a great week.
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- Tags: CARES Act, Covid-19, evictions, Executive Order, Jefferson County eviction diversion program, nonpayment of rent