How to Evict a Tenant (Process)
Landlords in Kentucky will need to adhere to State law when attempting to evict a tenant from a rental unit. In some counties, the landlord must follow the rules outlined in the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, while in others the lease terms will be the deciding factor in what is permissible for eviction.
Step 1 – Eviction Laws
Landlords must begin by determining whether or not the leased property resides in a district governed by the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA).
The following counties have adopted the URLTA: Barbourville, Bellevue, Bromley, Covington, Dayton, Florence, Lexington-Fayette County, Georgetown, Louisville-Jefferson County, Ludlow, Melbourne, Newport, Oldham County, Pulaski County, Shelbyville, Silver Grove, Southgate, Taylor Mill, Woodlawn.
Step 2 – Written Notice of Eviction
The tenant must be served with a written notice of eviction (referred to as a “Notice to Quit”) informing them of the reason the lease is ending, the date the property must be vacated, and what measures they can take to retain possession of the property (if any). The type of notice chosen by the landlord is dependant on whether the property is located in a URLTA district as well as the reason the tenant is being evicted.
URLTA Eviction Notices
For the non-payment of rent, the landlord must serve the tenant with a 7-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. The tenant must either pay the total rent within the seven (7) day period or vacate the premises.
For non-compliance with the lease terms (e.g., material damages, unauthorized pets, additional occupants), the landlord shall serve the tenant with a 14-Day Notice to Comply or Quit. The tenant must correct the non-compliance within fourteen (14) days or else they will be forced to vacate.
If the tenant commits substantially the same lease violation within six (6) months of receiving notice, the landlord can terminate the rental contract by serving the individual with a 14-Day Notice to Quit – 2nd Non-Compliance. The tenant will be required to vacate within fourteen (14) days.
For the termination of a month-to-month lease without cause, the landlord must provide the tenant with a 30-Day Notice to Quit stating that the premises must be vacated within thirty (30) days.
Non-URLTA Eviction Notices
If the property is not located in a URLTA district, the landlord must reference the lease to establish what actions constitute an eviction, and to discover what notice period shall be given to the tenant (the landlord may serve the tenant with a General Notice to Quit for these types of evictions). However, if the lease does not contain eviction provisions, or if there is no lease, the landlord musts serve the tenant with a 1-Month Notice to Quit.
Step 3 – Serve the Notice
An eviction notice must either be served to the tenant personally (or to another responsible resident of the dwelling), mounted to a conspicuous location of the residence, or sent by registered/certified mail with a return receipt requested.
Step 4 – Legal Proceedings
Generally, the tenant can stop the eviction by paying the total rent due or by correcting their lease violations, though some eviction cases cannot be cured. If the individual fails to adhere to the notice requirements within the prescribed period (i.e., does not pay rent, does not correct their non-compliance, does not vacate), the landlord can go to the civil department of the district court where the property is located and file an eviction complaint.
The landlord will need to submit a Forcible Detainer Complaint to a clerk and pay the filing fee (fees vary between counties). Certain courts may require the landlord to file a Writ Of Forcible Entry & Detainer or other additional documents. Before filing, the landlord should contact a clerk to see what forms will be needed for their eviction case.
Step 5 – Schedule Hearing
The clerk will schedule a hearing date for the case and submit the information to the sheriff’s department. An officer will then serve the hearing details to the tenant thus informing them that they are required to appear in court. The officer must serve the notice no less than three (3) days prior to the hearing.
Step 6 – Court Date
At the eviction trial, the landlord must present their evidence to the judge including a copy of the eviction notice, the lease (if applicable), witness testimonials, and any other supporting material. The tenant will also present their case to the court. The judge will then make a ruling determining whether the eviction shall be granted. If the landlord wins the case, the judge will allow the tenant a seven (7) day period in which they can make an appeal or vacate.
Step 7 – Warrant of Possession
If the tenant neither appeals the ruling nor vacates the premises by the end of the seven (7) day period, the landlord can obtain a Warrant of Possession from the district court (a fee will be required). The Warrant of Possession will be given to the sheriff’s department. The sheriff’s department will contact the landlord to establish an eviction date and, on that date, both the landlord and an officer will visit the tenant to remove them and their belongings from the rental unit.