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'Instead of decorating, we're moving' | Residents at Louisville apartment complex surprised by eviction notice

The property manager at Legacy Apartment Homes said she notified residents ahead of time, but the residents said they had no warning.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Ronnie Bishop sat between boxes in his Auburndale neighborhood apartment, reading a complaint saying he's due in court on Dec. 16.

"It is going to be a financial issue," he said. "And with Christmas just a few weeks away, instead of decorating, we're moving."

He's one of the dozens of residents being evicted from Legacy Apartment Homes. Property manager Marsha White said her company recently purchased the property and plans to make improvements. She said that's why they've chosen not to renew leases for month-to-month tenants and they're offering long-term leaseholders a chance to break their contracts.

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So far this year, there have been 10,950 evictions filed through the Jefferson County court system. In the past two weeks, the court added an additional 1 p.m. docket every day of the week - which signifies the number is increasing.

Advocacy Director for the Legal Aid Society of Louisville, Stewart Pope, said the type of eviction used at Legacy is increasingly common and hard for tenants to fight.

When landlords evict tenants based on payment issues, they're often met with a long legal process. Tenants may try to attain rental assistance which takes time on its own, and then it slows or stalls the eviction. 

"So they are looking for reasons to evict other than non-payment and the easiest reason is that month-to-month leases expired," Pope said.

While management at Legacy Apartment homes said their decision was based on needed improvements, their tenants are still facing eviction.

On top of that, several people had their vehicles towed from the apartment parking lot Monday.

"It's really embarrassing," one resident said. He said his car was taken away while his son was visiting that morning.

In a statement, White said: "On December 3, 2021, I sent a letter to all residents of Legacy Apartments that we will be doing work on the roofs from the dates of December 6 through the 10th. In the letter, I advised residents that all cars need to be pulled away from the building by 8 a.m. Monday morning or they will be towed. I did not call the tow company until 10 a.m. giving them extra time. My maintenance technician also knocked on every door giving people an extra opportunity to move their vehicles. All vehicles that were not moved when the towing company got to the property around 10:30 am we're towed per the letter."

Several residents said they saw no letter. 

"No, we had no idea whatsoever," James Allison said.

About 30 people from the complex have hearings scheduled at the Hall of Justice for Dec. 16. Stewart Pope said representation in this process is crucial, and there is help available through groups like the Legal Aid Society.

Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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