LEXINGTON, Ky. — Some tenants in Lexington say they are experiencing unstable living conditions, displacement, and even eviction. But with a new city council in office, they’re hopeful for change.

What You Need To Know

  • With a new city council in office, Lexington tenants are seeking proper protective measures for the future of leasing in the bluegrass

  • Renters across Lexington are sharing their testimonies ahead of the newest council’s first meetings

  • Lexington’s NAACP is working with supportive services around the city to help anyone with resources and other housing needs

Bringing a new meaning to housing as a human right, Kentucky tenants and renters are speaking out ahead of the city’s first urban council meeting of the year.

Renters like Michael Richardson are among the people who have been affected. 

Richardson was recently given a 14-day notice to vacate his home because of substantial repairs. You can see damages from cracks in the wall and ceiling infrastructure in various spots throughout his apartment home, and a large hole in which ventilating material is exposed.

Other renters say they were asked to use gallons of water and more to shower after problems with water and critical sewage systems.  

It’s part of why they are hoping lawmakers pass a Kentucky “tenant’s bill of rights” that could provide protections for things like an advanced notice of evictions.  

“Being told that you have two weeks to find a new place to live and trying to come up with the money to move, it’s not cheap,” Richardson explained. “I’ve lived here for a year, and they didn’t communicate with me once.”

Renters like Heather Pechatsko describe the conditions as inhumane, even comparing them to the treatment of farm animals.

Some say redevelopment has contributed to their major displacement and the fear of retaliation, financial restrictions, and other landlords are constant concerns. 

“I do fear, like every day. I live on the third floor and every time I come home, I walk around the corner and I look to see if there’s a note attached to my door,” Pechatsko said. 

The tenant’s group is also advocating for a potential right-to-counsel project that would essentially form those protective laws for people facing eviction and secure the right to an attorney.

“And right notices, if you don’t do things exactly as the statute says you’re to do them, your remedies in court are not available to you.” Housing justice attorney Stefanie Ebbens Kingsley said. 

Teaming with nonprofits like Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, NAACP and other groups, these tenants hope to bring affordable and safer opportunities to renters across the Bluegrass.