Health Investigations

A Louisville landlord that charged a tenant late fees after she failed to pay rent in April is being sued in Jefferson Circuit Court.

The Kentucky Equal Justice Center filed the suit this week, alleging Summerfield Realty LLC engaged in unfair, false, misleading and deceptive practices after  charging a $91 late fee onto the account of Katrice Gill and threatening Gill with eviction.

Gill, in an interview with KyCIR last month, said she was unable to pay her rent due to the pandemic. With her four kids at home, she’d been unable to work her job as a home health aide. Gill said she’d attempted to contact her landlord to work out a deal, but got no response.

The Kentucky Equal Justice Center alleges Summerfield Realty LLC violated stipulations set forth in the federal CARES Act, which prohibits landlords that participate in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s voucher program from charging late fees, and the company threatened eviction when, in fact, state officials have instituted a moratorium on all evictions.

The class action suit seeks the return of any late fees collected by Summerfield Realty LLC, as well as a court order “requiring the landlord to reverse its unlawful charges and correct its misinformation, along with actual damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.”

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.