My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney client relationship.
Yes, if the tenant has not moved and the lease has been officially cancelled, your only remedy is an eviction in this matter. Self-help remedies (forcing the tenant out yourself, turning off utilities, etc.) are expressly prohibited. You have to post notice of their breach, and you can’t simply just put it in the mail or tell them orally. The procedure that is most favored by property owners and accepted by the courts in Kentucky is to post the notice to the front door (except Jefferson County/Louisville). As an additional security, you should take a date-stamped picture of the notice on the door, but usually your testimony that notice was posted usually will suffice.
It is necessary to have the appropriate amount of time on the notice. Kentucky law permits a forcible detainer notice to be as little as seven days, but only if this is actually in writing in your lease. If that written lease fails to state a notice period, then the general default in Kentucky is 30 days. There are other criteria which may come into effect if your payment period isn’t monthly, and your lease doesn’t state a notice period. The default notice period goes to the payment period if it is shorter than 30 days – stated another way if rent is paid bi-weekly, then the default notice period is more than likely also two weeks. If the lease is a month-to-month or it is expiring (this seems to be your case), the landlord needs to give a 30-day notice in all counties without the necessity of stating a reason.
The notice must contain all the essential elements. It should state the date, the tenant’s name(s), and notice of 30 days is suitable or face eviction. Be careful accepting partial payments after the notice has been posted. It could be argued that accepting a partial payment causes a need for a new notice period unless there are proper waiver terms in the lease. After the notice period is up, if the tenant has vacated, then you must file a forcible detainer complaint.
The forcible detainer complaint is normally filed with the district court clerk in the county where the real estate is. See How to Fill Out the Kentucky Forcible Detainer Form. There will be court costs, and there will be a fee to serve (the sheriff or constable will post the court notice to the front door). The serving costs will vary by locale, though typically the cost of the two combined is somewhat over $100. Upon a guilty finding in the forcible detainer lawsuit, the tenant is typically liable for those costs (if you sue them for money they owe). Be aware of filing and court dates; within my county, for example, forcible detainers are heard on Wednesdays, but the complaint must be filed by noon the previous Thursday, or it will have to be carried over to the following Wednesday. The district clerk will have this information. Kentucky has a standard forcible detainer complaint form online at: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fcourts.ky.gov%2Fresources%2Flegalforms%2FLegalForms%2F216.pdf
Jefferson County (Louisville) has a different forcible detainer form at http://courts.ky.gov/resources/legalforms/LegalForms/0561.pdf
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