Though Evictions Are Paused, Late Fees Accrue For Some Renters

When the first of the month came, Katrice Gill couldn’t make rent. The part-time, in-home health aide and single mother usually has no trouble paying the $200 monthly contribution to her Section 8 subsidized rent, plus utilities. But with schools closed, she’s home with her four young kids, and the grocery bill has ballooned. 

Gill, 32, said she tried to call her landlord, but didn’t get a call back. Then, on April 7, the landlord sent an email with the subject line in all caps: PAST DUE NOTICE. 

With the message came an added charge: she was assessed a late fee of $91, nearly 45 percent of what she usually pays in rent. “I’m just really stressed out,” she said.

The Rent Is Due. What If You Can’t Pay?

It’s the first new month since the coronavirus swept into Kentucky, and for thousands of families, that means the rent is due. Many, though, may struggle to pay that bill this month. The spreading COVID-19 pandemic has led to the shuttering of scores of business, sparking layoffs and furloughs. Renters make up about 33 percent of Kentucky’s 1.7 million households, according to data from the Metropolitan Housing Coalition. The rate is slightly higher in Jefferson County, where renters account for about 38 percent of households.