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Bill to Curb Trashing of Rental Units Goes to Ky. House

A measure to discourage tenants from damaging rental properties during an eviction passed the Kentucky Senate Wednesday by a 28-8 vote.

The measure, known as Senate Bill 11, would clarify current criminal mischief statutes by creating a category in Kentucky’s criminal code exclusively for damaging rental properties. It wouldn’t increase the penalty, said Sen. John Schickel (R-Union) who introduced the bill.

“I think this bill is even more important this year than last year because so many landlords in our commonwealth are struggling,” Schickel said, in reference to a similar bill passed out of the Senate last session. “Most landlords are very small business people.”

Senate Minority Caucus Chair Reginald Thomas (D-Lexington) rose to speak against the bill. He said tenants today could be held criminally liable under the state’s current criminal mischief statute.

“We don’t need to single them out,” he said of tenants. “We don’t need to treat them as if they are somehow ... pariahs.”

Sen. Wil Schroder (R-Wilder) said he agreed that tenants could be charged under the current criminal mischief statute, but that he supported SB 11. He explained that the measure would help property managers more easily identify people with a history of trashing rental units when vetting prospective tenants through criminal background checks.

“This bill as it is today would give another tool to our landlords,” Schroder said.

From the Legislative Research Commission

Photo: Wil Schroder (LRC)

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