Factfinder 12: Can Kansans still be evicted under the governor's order?

Published: Apr. 20, 2020 at 5:36 PM CDT
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Gov. Laura Kelly ordered a halt to foreclosures and evictions in Kansas as the state responded to the coronavirus pandemic, but as Factfinder 12 found out, the order does not mean you can't be evicted.

Mary Lynch-Clay lives in a south Wichita mobile home park. Last month, she received an eviction notice informing her that she had three days to vacate the property. She was just one of several residents who live at local mobile home parks and received similar notices.

So, is it legal?

Attorney Charley O'Hara says yes.

"They can proceed but they're really only proceeding in a limited way for certain types of things. This would not be an emergency. So, if they came out and served you at your property with a notice, nothing would happen in court until the courts open and then the courts are going to have to sort through all this," says O'Hara.

He says the landlords and banks looking to evict or foreclose must prove the failure to pay was unrelated to coronavirus.

"If the only reason they're not paying their rent is the COVID-19 virus then they can initiate the proceedings and get them started but they can't make them leave the premises," O'Hara said.

Lynch-Clay said that describes her. She said she hadn't missed paying her rent prior to the coronavirus.

"Getting paid through the VA, it hasn't been coming through like it was supposed to," she said.

O'Hara says the governor's order doesn't mean people should stop paying their rent or mortgage, but if they do, they need to communicate their situation with their landlords and lenders.

"A lot of people are going to be behind on their rents and their mortgages and we're going to have to hope the landlords and the banks area little forgiving in these instances," said O'Hara.