What You Need to Know About Eviction in Kentucky

The timeline of eviction in Kentucky, and the kind of notice your landlord can serve you, will depend on your county’s rules and the cause of eviction.
Written by Natalie Todoroff
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
counties that have adopted the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, a landlord must provide the tenant with either a 7-day, 14-day, or 30-day notice before filing a formal eviction complaint. The length of the notice will change depending on the cause of eviction. 
However unpleasant it may be, eviction is a legal process that requires landlords to adhere to the rules laid out in Kentucky law. But, eviction notices in Kentucky can get a little complicated. Not every county follows the same rules, and the reason for eviction will affect how long it takes
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Kentucky eviction 101: how you can be evicted 

First things first: many of the rules and regulations laid out below are only for Kentucky counties that have adopted the
Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA)
. This act spells out what exact actions a landlord must take to evict a tenant lawfully, but it only applies to counties with a population of at least 68,000 people. If you’re not sure, call your county clerk’s office and ask if it’s under this act. 
In Kentucky, your landlord can evict you for one of these three causes

Failure to pay rent 

If your county has adopted the URLTA: Under Kentucky law, rent is late one day past due. In this case, a landlord must provide a tenant with a 7-day notice to pay. If they do not pay after that time, a landlord can proceed with the eviction process. Any additional grace periods will must be stipulated in the lease agreement.
If your county has not adopted the URLTA: Rent is still considered overdue if it is one day late, but instead of giving tenants a week to pay, a landlord can instead file a 30-day notice to quit, meaning they have one month to vacate the rented space. 

Lease violation

If there’s been a violation of the rental agreement, a landlord must provide a tenant a 14-day notice to correct the issue. These violations can include having pets in a no-pets-allowed building, smoking in a non-smoking building, property damage, or even illegal activity. 
The rules change a little if you’re a repeat offender. Violating the same terms of your lease more than once within a six-month period, results in a 14-day notice to quit.

Non-renewal of lease at end of lease agreement 

If your county has adopted the URLTA: Usually, this is used for landlords who do not wish to renew their tenant’s lease. The kind of notice needed for this cause depends on the type of lease you have. 
  • Week-to-week lease: 7-day notice to quit 
  • Month-to-month lease: 30-day notice to quit 
  • Written lease expires:10-day notice to quit 
If your county has not adopted the URLTA: For all Kentucky counties that are not under the URLTA, a landlord has to give a 30-day notice to quit

A timeline of eviction in Kentucky 

Let’s say that your landlord has given you notice to address the reason for eviction. What happens next? If you’re staring down the barrel of eviction in Kentucky, here’s what you can expect in terms of a timeline:
How long it typically takes
What to expect
Written notice from landlord
3-15 days
A landlord must send a written notice outlining the reason for eviction. The exact length of the notice depends on both the reason for eviction and whether or not the county follows the URLTA
Landlord files complaint with Court
7-30 days
After the eviction notice is issued, it can take up to a month for the landlord to file a Forcible Detainer Action
Summons and Complaint
3 days before hearing
The tenant must be served at least three days before their court appearance by the sheriff or constable
A couple of days to a couple of weeks
The scheduling of a hearing is up to each county’s jurisdiction.
Tenant appeal
Within 7 days of court judgment
If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a tenant can file an appeal within seven days of the ruling
Writ of Restitution
Immediately or 7 days after judgment in favor of landlord
Although the writ of restitution can be issued immediately after a hearing, it cannot be acted on until seven days after the hearing. It is issued when the judge rules in favor of the landlord, and it acts as the tenant’s last notice to leave the rental property
7 days after writ of restitution is issued
If the tenant has not moved out of the rental property seven days after the writ of restitution has been issued, a law enforcement officer may forcibly remove them from the property
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From start to finish, you can expect the eviction process in Kentucky to take anywhere between three to six weeks

How to resist eviction in Kentucky 

After reading through this guide to Kentucky evictions, you may feel a little powerless in the face of a landlord trying to evict you. But, as a tenant, you have rights! Here’s how you can combat an illegal eviction: 
  • Address the cause of eviction. This is the most efficient way to fight an eviction. The sooner you can address your landlord’s concerns, like fixing a damaged part of the property or quitting smoking, the better. 
  • Look for a procedural mistake. Your landlord has to follow many precise steps to complete an eviction as outlined above. Stay on top of the process and watch out for errors on their end. If brought up in court, it’s possible to get the case dismissed. 
  • Point out your landlord’s failure to maintain the property. You can avoid eviction if, for example, your landlord’s trying to evict you due to water damage, but the water damage is from leaky plumbing they refused to fix, despite your requests. 
  • Be aware of discrimination. In Kentucky, it is illegal to evict someone because of their race, color, national origin, and more. If you have a hunch that you’re being discriminated against by your landlord, you may be able to get your eviction case dismissed. 
  • Be proactive. If you catch yourself falling behind (or coming close to falling behind) on your rent payments, organizations like the
    Healthy at Home Eviction Relief Fund
    may be able to provide some assistance.  

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