Eviction is one of the more troubling aspects of rental property management. Evictions occur when a tenant has violated lease agreement requirements. Most often this involves the failure to pay the rent. It can also involve other violations of rental agreements. Destruction of property, Temporary abandonment of property without landlord notification, or even such things as the presence of pets or people living on the property that are not listed on the lease.
Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA)
In Kentucky evictions fall under the auspices of KRS 383.200 or, more specifically (for those local jurisdictions that have enacted it, the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA). The URLTA requires more specific steps in order to evict a tenant and those steps vary according to the type of lease and the problem at hand.
In accordance with the URLTA tenants must be given physical notification of the landlord’s intent to evict. This notification can be delivered by mail or it can be physically posted on the tenant’s door. For municipalities or counties that have not adopted URLTA, the terms of eviction are less variable. Unless the lease specifies a shorter time, the landlord must provide a notice to evict within thirty days.
According to the URLTA, the notice to evict must contain specific information. This includes the amount presently owed, when it was due, and a notice that the past due amount be paid within a seven-day period after the date of the notice. In other matters of non-compliance with lease terms, a tenant is allowed fourteen days to remedy the problem. It is important to note, however, that although a fourteen-day notice is still required, the landlord is under no obligation to allow the tenant to address the problem and continue residency. If they are out of compliance with the lease, for any reason other than non-payment, the landlord can insist they vacate the property within fourteen days.
Some leases vary in regard to eviction procedures. Month-to-month leases, for example, vary somewhat when it comes to the terms of eviction. They require a thirty-day notice from the landlord but that notice does not have to be for any specific reason.
Commercial leases too are treated differently under URLTA. Commercial renters are only required a three-day notice of eviction under KRS 383.215. Interestingly, commercial renters do not have the same level of buffer as do residential tenants.
Forcible Detainer Action
Just because notice has been given, tenants do not always vacate the premises willingly. This is where KRS 383.215 comes more forcibly to the forefront. KRS 383.215 stipulates the terms of how and when a tenant can be forcibly removed from the rental property. It requires court action and often requires the assistance of lawyers on the part of the landlord. In fact, if a landlord is incorporated or officially organized as a business entity such as a Limited Liability Corporation, they must be represented by an attorney in any legal proceedings relating to their business. This is true even if the landlord is the sole owner of the business.
Without a court order, a landlord cannot simply go onto their property and forcibly remove a tenant or their property. In fact, if said landlord was to take forcible eviction upon themselves they could be held liable in a court of law. Any property seized, for example, would be seized illegally and the landlord would owe the former renter twice the value of that property. On the other hand, the law does allow a landlord to collect up to six percent per annum interest on the past due rent.
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