COVINGTON, Ky. — A group of landlords have filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and three Northern Kentucky County Circuit Court Clerks. 

What You Need To Know

  • Landlords file lawsuit against Beshear, Northern Kentucky County Circuit Court Clerks

  • Lawsuit is over moratorium placed on evictions in March

  • Landlords say some tenants are abusing the system

  • All parties in the lawsuit will have a mediation July 30

This is about the moratorium put on evictions, a practice that some landlords say has led to tenants “abusing the system.”

In a 44-page document, landlords part of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Apartment Association, Cayton Development, LLC, Vaill, LLC and Anduril Strategy LLC are teaming together to challenge an executive order placed March 25 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At hand, the order suspends evictions which impacts landlords who are exempt from the CARES Act eviction moratorium.

Attorney Chris Weist, who represents the landlords, said the order has put his clients in a tough place.               

“The landlord bills don’t stop right. The states still want their tax money, the states still want their utility money, the mortgage companies still want their money, and what they’ve got that several tenants will not communicate with them, will not talk with them. I’ve seen communications from tenants that Andy Beshear, the governor, says we don’t have to pay our rent, we’re not paying our rent, good luck. And so what dealing with are some folks taking gross advantage of the situation,” Weist said.

He said there are some landlords and tenants who have worked together, but this lawsuit is aimed at tenants who have abused the system. 

“In some cases, I've seen photos by some of these landlord clients, tenants buying brand new big screen TVs and refusing to pay the rent. And I just think looking at it, it really is an unfortunate situation because I think we are dealing with a substantial subset of people who are taking advantage,” Weist said.

In his press conference Wednesday, Beshear said he hopes to come to an agreement where all parties can discuss the issue at hand.

“The goal here is to make sure that nobody who’s lost their job and can’t pay their rent because of COVID, is kicked out on the street when they need to have a place to be at to be healthy at home. I think it’s also fair to make sure people aren’t gaming the system if they have the ability to pay. Like all of this it’s a balance, it’s a balance of fairness and I hope that we can have a good conversation with the landlords that we’re talking to,” Beshear said. “Now the one thing I want to be careful of is that we don’t set up a process with an imbalance of power in ways that to get people in plans that are suffering because of COVID that aren’t realistic.”

Early July, Beshear said in a statement, “The orders seek to help protect Kentuckians who may have lost their jobs during the global health pandemic and allow them to be healthy at home, but clearly state the suspension of evictions does not relieve tenants’ obligation to pay their rent, to pay their mortgage or comply with any other obligation under their lease or mortgage.”

A mediation involving all parties in this lawsuit is scheduled July 30 at the Federal Courthouse in Covington.