Another three months is too long for frustrated landlords

Posted at 7:48 PM, Aug 05, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Broken windows, stolen electricity, trash, and tenants changing locks are just a few of the reasons landlord Ron Johnson says he's extremely frustrated with the CDC's eviction moratorium extension.

"One of the tenants climbed up on the roof and busted the camera we have out here," said Johnson.

Johnson and property manager Kathy Gibson say they've filed at least 15 police reports for incidents with tenants at the Lincoln Terrace Apartments in Lexington.

"We don't have no power anymore. We don't have no influence on them. They have all the rights, we have none," said Johnson.

Gibson says knowing that they may not get an income during another three months is devastating.

"I don't like what's going on and it makes you kinda upset. The money is not coming in so we have to live on what we get and then you know, he's got a mortgage," said Gibson.

Landlords can begin the eviction process at any time, even during the eviction moratorium. However, tenants can't be forced to move out until it expires unless they don't show up to court.

If landlords choose to evict, they'll lose out on the millions in federal stimulus money they could get paid for past-due rent and utilities.

Johnson applied to the program, that's why Johnson says he hasn't made that choice.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government listened to the landlord's complaints about poor communication and frustrations last week about how slow the process has been going. So they added 15 additional workers to their Housing Stabilization Program team.

"This is really difficult for landlords, I mean they're a business and we understand that they have bills to pay and this is a burden on them. So we're partnering with them as much as we can and trying to prioritize as much as we need to get as much of that money out as fast as possible," said Charlie Lanter, Director of Grants and Special Programs.

They're still only allowed to pay up to 12 months of back rent and utilities. Landlords who've had tenants not paying for longer than that won't be fully compensated.

"The treasury department may decide at some point to extend, they've extended the moratorium, they may extend the rules on how much we can pay that's not our call," said Lanter.

The reality of that and the chaos at his property makes another extension tough to swallow for Johnson.

"We would like to have a little bit more control. Right now, we have no control," said Johnson.

The Urban County government received around $29 million for the Housing Stabilization Program.

They expect to have distributed $5 million by the end of the week.