Kentucky Eviction Laws and Eviction Process

A reference of Kentucky Eviction Laws, and steps of the Kentucky eviction process for landlords and renters, updated 2021.

  • What are the reasons that landlords can evict tenants under Kentucky eviction laws?
    • Non-payment of rent (KRS §383.660(2)).
    • Material non-compliance with the lease agreement (KRS §383.660(1)).
    • Failure to maintain the unit (KRS §383.605)).
    • Material non-compliance with the lease agreement that affects health or safety (KRS §383.610)).
    • Tenant remains in possession of the dwelling unit after the occupancy period without the landlord’s permission (KRS §383.695).
  • What notice do Kentucky eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
    • The specific timeframes related to notice depend on whether the county has adopted the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act. The timelines below apply to the following counties: Barbourville, Bellevue, Bromley, Covington, Dayton, Florence, Fayette, Georgetown, Jefferson, Ludlow, Melbourne, Newport, Oldham, Pulaski, Shelbyville, Silver Grove, Southgate, Taylor, and Woodlawn. For other counties, refer to the language in the lease agreement.
    • For evictions in Kentucky based on non-payment of rent, the landlord must give a 7-day notice to the tenant. (KRS §383.660(2)). If the tenant does not pay rent within that timeframe, the landlord can terminate the lease. 
    • For evictions based on non-compliance of the lease agreement that is possible to remedy, the landlord must give a 14-day notice to the tenant. If the breach is not cured within 14 days, the landlord can terminate the lease. If the tenant remedies the breach, the rental agreement will stay in place. However, if the tenant breaches the lease again in a similar manner within six months, the landlord can deliver a second 14-day notice to the tenant, and the tenant will not be able to cure the breach in order to avoid eviction. (KRS §383.660(1)).
    • For evictions based on a health or safety violation that can be remedied by repair, replacement of a damaged item, or cleaning, the landlord must provide a 14-day notice to the tenant and give them a chance to remedy the problem. (KRS §383.665)). If the tenant remedies the breach, the rental agreement will stay in place. However, if the tenant breaches the lease again in a similar manner within six months, the landlord can deliver a second 14-day notice to the tenant, and the tenant will not be able to cure the breach in order to avoid eviction. (KRS §383.660(1)).
    • For evictions based on a holdover tenancy, the notice the landlord must provide is based on the term of the tenancy. For week-to-week leases, the landlord must provide a 7-day notice. For a month-to-month agreement, the landlord must provide a 30-day notice. If the landlord wants to terminate a written lease when it ends, the landlord must provide a 10-day notice before the lease is set to expire. (KRS §383.695).
  • Do Kentucky eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities? 
    • No. Kentucky law prohibits landlords from removing or excluding the tenant from the rental unit or interrupting utility services to the unit. The tenant can take legal action and recover up to three months’ rent and a reasonable attorney’s fee. (KRS §383.655).

Kentucky Eviction Process: Step-by-Step

The eviction process in Kentucky involves the following steps: 

  1. Serve the Eviction Notice. The landlord must provide the tenant with the appropriate eviction notice that states the reason for eviction, the deadline to comply (if applicable), and the date the lease will terminate. 
  2. File and Serve a Complaint. The landlord officially begins the eviction process in Kentucky by filing a complaint or “warrant” and paying the filing fee. The landlord must also file an Eviction Notice: Notice of Eviction Hearing Trial by the Court. The landlord must serve the complaint and eviction notice on the tenant. The tenant does not have to provide a written answer to contest the case. Instead, they can simply show up at the court hearing to provide their defense.  
  3. Go to Court. The court schedules a hearing based on its own schedule. The landlord and tenant appear and present their case. The judge makes a decision. 
  4. File an Appeal. The tenant can file an appeal if they disagree with the decision. This must be done within 7 days of the judgment. 
  5. File a Warrant for Possession. If the tenant does not move out of the property within 7 days after a judgment has been entered against them, the landlord can file a Warrant for Possession. This document gives the sheriff the legal authority to physically remove the tenant from the property.

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