Forcible Detainer & Eviction
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In mid-December 2017, Kentucky's courts launched a pilot for eFiling forcible detainers (eviction) in two Kentucky counties: Fayette and Garrard. According to the offices of the court clerks in these two counties, no one had eFiled an eviction complaint until...
The Brackney Law Office, PLLC represents central Kentucky landlords in forcible detainer and eviction proceedings.
Non-payment of rent is the most common reason for an eviction proceeding. If your residential tenant is behind on his or her rent, BLO can save you time and money by helping you avoid costly legal mistakes. Read below for more information.
If you are a landlord or tenant seeking assistance with a forcible detainer, please complete this form to provide basic information concerning your case. We will evaluate your submission to see if we can assist (but if a court date or action is required in fewer than 72 hours, please do not use the form).
Due to the ever-changing landscape involving forcible detainers in the wake of the Coronavirus, Executive Orders, Supreme Court orders, and CDC Declarations, please contact Brackney Law Office to discuss fees and other matters pertaining to your case. More information about our fees are available below.
The Eviction Process in Kentucky
The eviction process in Kentucky varies widely based on the jurisdiction where the rental property is located. This is because most Kentucky communities have not adopted the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act (URLTA) which is codified at KRS 383.500-715. Additionally, the eviction process may be impacted by the terms of the written lease between the landlord and tenant.
Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus in March 2020, the process for obtaining an eviction/forcible detainer has changed several times. Brackney Law Office monitors this changing landscape as new orders are issued by the Governor, the Kentucky Supreme Court, and the federal government.
The Seven Day Notice (or other Notice).
In Lexington and other communities that have adopted URLTA, a Seven Day Notice is required to be served upon the Tenant prior to the initiation of a Forcible Detainer for non-payment of rent. If the eviction proceeding is being brought for lease violations or some other reason, or if the property is located in a non-URLTA jurisdiction, different notice periods apply. A sample Seven Day Notice is available for download by clicking here; note that this sample Seven Day Notice is not the appropriate notice in all evictions. Note: A Seven Day Notice is not sufficient under current law (COVID19).
Preparing the Lawsuit
Prior to filing a forcible detainer action, BLO will review the written lease agreement, the notices provided to the tenant, and the tenant’s rent roll or payment history. If there is more than one tenant on the lease, only one eviction proceeding is required, but all tenants should be provided with notice and service. The procedure for this does vary based on the county where the case is filed.
After reviewing the documents, BLO will prepare both the Complaint and the Summons and will file these with the appropriate court and obtain a court date. After the lawsuit has been filed, it is critical that the landlord does not accept partial rent from the tenant.
At the hearing, many judges will advance the call of the docket to accommodate those attorneys who are present. I recommend that the property manager (or the individual with personal knowledge relating to service of the Notice) attend the hearing in the event that additional testimony is required. The tenant may or may not appear and may or may not have hired a lawyer; the tenant may or may not offer an affirmative defense. In most cases, judgment is granted and the tenant is given seven (7) days to vacate the unit (or appeal).
If the tenant does not appeal timely and does not vacate the unit within the seven (7) days, then the landlord may obtain a Warrant for Possession from the court.
Collecting Unpaid Rent
Getting a judgment from the court for a forcible detainer does not determine the amount that is owed and it does not allow the landlord to collect for unpaid rent or for damages caused by the tenant to the unit. A second proceeding, often filed in small claims court if damages sought are under $2,500, needs to be filed and there are costs associated with doing so including court costs, service of process fees, etc. For some tenants and for some amounts, it is easier to write off the balance due. If you have questions about collecting unpaid amounts after obtaining a forcible detainer contact Brackney Law Office today by clicking here or by calling (859) 559-4648.
Do I need a lawyer?
It is important that each eviction is handled by someone who understands Kentucky’s eviction laws as well as the local practices of the court. Failure to comply with the rules can result in costly mistakes which will leave a bad tenant in possession of their unit and the landlord without rent and an available unit. You may not need a lawyer to file an eviction, but having one can help you navigate these laws and procedural rules saving you time and money.
Many Kentucky counties, however, follow the Court of Appeals’ 2008 ruling in Bobbett v. Russellville Mobile Park, LLC. That opinion requires any landlord that isn’t an individual to be represented by an attorney. that mandates that landlords be represented. In Bobbett, the owner of the landlord (an LLC) was found to have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law (a misdemeanor) by filing a forcible detainer complaint on behalf of his company and the Court of Appeals instructed the District Court to dismiss the complaint.
Brackney Law Office’s Fees
For forcible detainers that are not uncontested residential evictions for non-payment of rent or for evictions in other counties, BLO will provide your with either a flat fee quote or ran estimated budget if the representation is on an hourly basis after the documents relating to the case are reviewed.
If you are a Landlord and need assistance evicting a tenant, click here to provide Brackney Law Office some basic information concerning the potential case and we will respond to your inquiry as quickly as we are able to do so.
Brackney Law Office, PLLC also provides limited tenant representation in evictions and other landlord-tenant matters. Because each tenant case is different, either a flat fee or an hourly rate will be quoted after a review of the facts involved. To provide basic information about your case, please click here to complete a basic intake form. Please do not use this form if you are facing an eviction in the next 72 hours as we will be unable to timely review your case.