The Eviction Process in Kentucky: Rules for Landlords and Property Managers

An overview of Kentucky eviction rules, forms, and procedures.

To evict a tenant in Kentucky, a landlord must follow certain rules and procedures set forth by Kentucky law. Because an eviction is a legal action and the landlord must win an eviction lawsuit to evict the tenant, it is very important that the landlord carefully follows all the proper rules and procedures for an eviction. This article will explain the basic rules and procedures landlords and property managers must follow when evicting a tenant in Kentucky.

Notice for Termination With Cause

The most common reasons a landlord can evict a tenant is the tenant’s failure to pay rent or the tenant’s violation of the lease or rental agreement. These reasons are known as legal cause. To evict a tenant in Kentucky, the landlord must first have legal cause. After establishing legal cause, the landlord can then take steps to terminate the lease or rental agreement. This is done by the landlord giving the tenant notice. The type of notice required will depend on the reason for the eviction.

  • Seven-Day Notice to Pay Rent: If the tenant fails to pay rent, then the landlord can give the tenant a seven-day notice to pay rent. This notice must inform the tenant that the tenant has seven days to pay rent or the landlord will terminate the lease or rental agreement. If the tenant does not pay rent during the seven-day period, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant in court (see  Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.660(2)).  Eviction Notices for Nonpayment of Rent in Kentucky  has more information.
  • Fifteen-Day Notice to Remedy: If the tenant has violated the lease or rental agreement, then the landlord can give the tenant a 15-day notice to remedy. This notice allows the tenant 15 days to fix the lease or rental agreement violation, or the landlord will terminate the tenancy. If the tenant does not fix the violation, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see  Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.660(1)).
  • Fourteen-Day Unconditional Quit Notice: If the landlord has already given the tenant a 15-day notice to remedy within the past six months and the tenant commits the same lease or rental agreement violation, then the landlord can give the tenant a 14-day unconditional quit notice. This notice must inform the tenant that because the tenant committed the same violation within a six-month period, then the landlord is terminating the tenancy at the end of 14 days. The landlord does not need to give the tenant the opportunity to fix the violation this time. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit by that time, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see  Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.660(1)).

Notice for Termination Without Cause

If a landlord does not have legal cause to evict a tenant, then the landlord must wait until the tenancy expires before expecting the tenant to move. In some cases, such as with a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord will still need to give the tenant written notice.

Month-to-Month Tenancy

If the landlord wishes to end a month-to-month tenancy but does not have legal cause to evict the tenant, then the landlord must give the tenant a 30-day notice. This notice must inform the tenant that the landlord wishes to end the month-to-month tenancy and that the tenant must move out of the rental unit by the end of 30 days. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit by that time, then the landlord can consider the tenant a holdover tenant (that is, the tenant is holding over in the rental unit after the tenancy has expired) and file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see  Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.695).  Kentucky Notice Requirements to Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy  has more information on this topic.

Fixed-Term Lease

If the landlord wishes to end a fixed-term lease but does not have legal cause to evict the tenant, then the landlord must simply wait until the end of the tenancy before expecting the tenant to move. The landlord is not required to give the tenant written notice to move unless the terms of the lease or rental agreement specifically require the landlord to do so.

Tenant Eviction Defenses

Even though a landlord may have legal cause to evict a tenant, the tenant may also have a valid legal defense against the eviction. Legal defenses include the landlord discriminating against the tenant or failing to maintain the rental unit. If a tenant chooses to fight the eviction with one of these defenses, it could increase the cost of the eviction lawsuit and allow the tenant more time to remain living in the rental unit.  Tenant Defenses to Evictions in Kentucky  has more information.

Removal of the Tenant

The only way to remove a tenant from a rental unit is for a landlord to win an eviction lawsuit in court against the tenant. Even then, the landlord does not have the authority to remove the tenant from the rental unit. That can only be done by a law enforcement officer with a court order. The state of Kentucky has made it illegal for the landlord to force the tenant to move out of the rental unit, and the tenant can sue the landlord who tries.  Illegal Eviction Procedures in Kentucky  has more information.

After the tenant is evicted and has moved out of the rental unit, the landlord may find that the tenant has left behind personal property. Unlike most states, Kentucky does not have any laws regulating what the landlord should do with this property. That does not mean that the landlord should immediately dispose of it, though. The best practice for the landlord would be to send the tenant a written notice detailing the items left behind and give the tenant a reasonable amount of time to claim the property. If the tenant does not claim the property, then the landlord can dispose of the property in any legal manner (such as, disposing of it or selling it).  Handling a Tenant’s Abandoned Property in Kentucky  has more information for landlords who find themselves in this situation.

Rationale for the Rules

Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Kentucky law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. Although these rules and procedures may seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, and the end result is serious: the tenant has lost a place to live. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new home.

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
FEATURED LISTINGS FROM NOLO
Swipe to view more
NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP ?

Talk to a Landlord-Tenant attorney.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you