As tempting as it may be to immediately attempt to throw an unruly and non-abiding tenant out of the house or apartment, doing so can have serious legal consequences. Kentucky has codified the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act in KRS 383.500 – 383.715 (“URLTA”). Pursuant to KRS 383.500, in order for the URLTA to be applicable in a given locale, that particular city, county, or urban county government must adopt the URLTA in its entirety. In areas where the URLTA has been adopted, tenants are often afforded greater protection at the landlord’s expense.
It is imperative that if your property is in an URLTA jurisdiction, you follow the specific, detailed requirements to effectuate a legal, proper eviction. Adequate notice must be provided and contain precise elements, such as the tenant’s name and property address, the nature of the breach and the time period within which said breach must be remedied. Depending on the type of breach, URLTA also requires that the tenant be given a certain period of time to remedy the breach (i.e., 7 days for nonpayment of rent; 14 days for material noncompliance with the lease agreement). It is only after the URLTA notice requirements have been satisfied and the period for remedying the breach elapsed that a landlord may initiate eviction proceedings by filing a petition with the court.
In Kentucky, the eviction procedure is known as a “forcible detainer” action under the law and is outlined in KRS Chapter 383. The biggest misconception in forcible detainer actions is that the end result will be the landlord receiving the money owed to him for past due rent and/or damages. However, this is not the purpose of a forcible detainer action. The purpose is solely to determine who has the right to possession of property. If a forcible detainer judgment is entered against the tenant, the tenant has seven (7) days to vacate the premises. If the tenant does not vacate within the allotted seven (7) day period, the landlord may seek a writ of possession and have the tenant’s property removed from the premises. A separate civil action must be filed against the tenant in order to recover the past due rent, late fees, damages, etc.
McBrayer provides representation to landlords, both in and out of court. If you are dealing with a tenant who has overstayed their welcome, we are here to help. Contact us anytime for more information about URLTA and how to ensure your eviction procedure is lawful.
Brendan Yates joined the Lexington office of the firm as an associate in 2002. Brendan is a member of the firm’s Litigation Department, where he focuses his practice on construction and real estate litigation, workers’ compensation defense litigation, insurance defense and commercial litigation. He has successfully defended his clients in state and federal courts, the Kentucky Court of Appeals, the Kentucky Supreme Court, and in administrative agency proceedings in Kentucky. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (859) 231-8780, ext. 208.
This article is intended as a summary of federal and state law and does not constitute legal advice.