Landlord of UK student removes all his belongings from Lexington apartment without permission, family says

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 6:02 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The family of a UK student is furious and looking for answers after they said his landlord trashed all his belongings.

Like every senior at the University of Kentucky, Drake Ficke lost out on finishing his college career due to the coronavirus pandemic. But he didn’t expect to also lose everything he’d created over the last two years.

Drake graduated from UK in May with an Art Studio Degree.

“This isn’t a hobby for me or anything, this is what I was going to school for. This was my planned career,” Ficke said.

He expected to spend this post-graduation time interviewing for jobs, but he says this isn’t the case now.

Ficke rented a house off Hagerman Court, owned by Expert Property Management. When students were told not to return to campus after spring break in March, he packed a couple of suitcases and moved back home with his family in Northern Kentucky.

“They said ‘you abandoned the apartment.’ By the way, this happened June 16, the lease ran through July 31,” said Drake’s father, Randy Ficke.

Randy Ficke says his wife, Mary, went to clean and move stuff out of the apartment on June 16. When she got there, she said it was completely empty.

“We received no notification that they were going to do that,” Randy said. “We received no notification on the door that the contents had been removed, so I asked him, ‘where did you take it?’ He said I trashed it. I took it to the street and trashed it.”

Ficke says he had been in contact with someone from the management group since Drake left school. He says they continued to pay rent, but were notified of a late payment in May. He says the rent was up to date and completely paid for the next month by June 4.

“It has nothing to do with the emotional value of having your artwork thrown in the garbage can, but there’s really money here that when he went to sell those could have been significant income for a graduating senior,” Randy said.

Ficke says the management group told them they considered the apartment abandoned because of the late payment, Drake left and the Fickes turned off the utilities, since no one was living there.

When WKYT asked why the belongings were trashed, manager of Expert Property, Debbie Adams, said in a statement, ‘the tenant reached out to us to inform us they had vacated the unit and asked us to attempt to re-rent the property and relieve them of the remaining financial responsibility.’ Adams said they made every attempt to find a new tenant on their behalf.

But Ficke says they were still making the rent payments through July, since the lease didn’t end until July 31.

“This is unconscionable in the midst of a pandemic,” Randy said.

Ficke said the family is now considering what their next steps will be to try and receive financial compensation for the items trashed.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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