Kentucky Landlord-Tenant Law
Owning a rental property in Kentucky means adhering to Kentucky landlord-tenant laws. Kentucky landlords and tenants are required to know their rights and responsibilities. As a landlord, it’s important so you can manage your property well. It will also help you not to draft a well-written lease agreement and not overstep your boundaries.
KENTUCKY RENTAL LAWS: REQUIRED LANDLORD DISCLOSURES
In Kentucky, there is certain information that you need to disclose to your tenants before you lease a property to them. These legal disclosures are about:
There’s no statute in the landlord-tenant law against non-refundable fees. Therefore, this will depend on the agreement made between you and your tenant.
According to the Kentucky landlord and tenant laws, there is no maximum limit on how much a landlord may charge as a security deposit to their tenants. Some states have a limit like double the amount of a month's rent, but Kentucky does not. According to state law, Kentucky landlords must return the security payment within 30 days of moving out. However, you may extend this time to 60 days if your tenant files a dispute to your deductions.
You must keep your tenant’s security deposit in its own separate account. You cannot touch any amount of it and it cannot be used to pay rent. If a landlord fails to keep the security deposit in a separate account, they cannot retain any portion of the security deposit upon the tenant's move-out.
You must notify your tenants of the location of their security deposit. Before a tenant’s move-in, you need to create an exhaustive list of existing damage to the rental unit. This will ensure that you do not hold them accountable for any damage that was not their fault.
Once your tenant moves out, you must make another detailed list of any damages and charges for them. This should include corresponding explanations for each of the damages. If you withhold any of the security deposit, your tenant may inspect the property to determine the accuracy of your damage list.
KENTUCKY TENANT LAW: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
If a tenant gets a legal Domestic Violence Order they may end their lease agreement, as per the state of Kentucky landlord and tenant law. This also applies if they secure an Interpersonal Protective Order. They must submit the following to you:
- A legal notice that informs you of their wish to terminate the lease and their tenancy 30 days after your receipt of the written notice
- A protective order copy
OWNER OR AGENT IDENTITY
Under Kentucky law, you must disclose to the tenant the following required information:
- The name and address of the landlord
- If the property owner is different from the landlord, their name, and address
- Name and address of the property management company the landlord is using
The landlord should include this required information in the lease.
LEAD PAINT HAZARDS
If your rental has any known lead paint hazards, you are required to make your tenant aware of them in the rental agreement. You must inform them of lead-based paint hazards. This may mean providing them with an information pamphlet along with their lease.
TENANT RIGHTS IN KENTUCKY
Kentucky tenants are within their allowance:
- Withhold payment of their rent if you fail to supply required housing services such as water and heat
- 2-days notice prior to your entry to the rented property
- “Repair and deduct” if you fail to make necessary repairs for them or withhold rent until you repair the issues
However, there are also basic tenant’s responsibilities in Kentucky. A tenant must:
- Maintain cleanliness and dispose of their trash properly
- Follow the terms and clauses stated in the lease
- Notify you of their absence from the premises for seven days and longer
If a tenant fails to do this, they can be evicted. If a landlord decides to evict tenants, they have to be prepared to give a legal reason.
LANDLORD RESPONSIBILITIES AND RIGHTS
Kentucky landlords are within their legal right to:
- Enter the property during emergency situations. Landlord access to their property must be available for emergency purposes.
- Issue a 7-days written notice to ‘pay rent or move out’ to a tenant who defaulted on their rent payment
- Issue an eviction notice if it’s legally justified
The following are your landlord responsibilities. A landlord must:
- Attend to repairs and maintenance of the rental to preserve its health, safety, and livability.
- Comply with building, health, and safety codes of Kentucky.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE LANDLORD-TENANT LAWS IN KENTUCKY
1. TENANT PRIVACY AND KENTUCKY LANDLORD’S RIGHT TO ENTER THE DWELLING
According to Kentucky’s landlord-tenant law, a landlord must give a two-day notice to their tenant to enter the rental property. You must give this notice at a reasonable time throughout the day. You also must give notice to the tenant when you are:
- Conducting maintenance and repairs
- Showing the property to prospective tenants
2. THE CONDITION, MAINTENANCE, AND REPAIRS
A landlord must keep their rental properties habitable for Kentucky tenants living in them. This entails:
- Maintaining the property’s electricity, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning. This means ensuring they’re in functioning condition at all times.
- Supplying clean running water and reasonable amounts of hot water to the tenant
- Maintaining clean and safe common areas
3. KENTUCKY’S HOUSING DISCRIMINATION LAWS
You must follow Kentucky’s Fair Housing Acts. This makes it illegal to discriminate against a tenant based on various characteristics, even in the rules of a rental agreement. These include skin color, religion, race, and national origin. It also includes disability, familial status, and/or sex.
4. KENTUCKY COLLECTION LAWS: SECURITY DEPOSITS
Tenants must pay a security deposit. You may use this deposit to:
- Fix property damages caused by the tenant’s negligence.
- Cover for unpaid rent.
The details of this deposit should be outlined in the rental agreement. Some states have a statute on how much landlords can charge as a security deposit. This is usually equal to two times the monthly rent.
5. RENTERS RIGHTS IN KY – WITHHOLDING RENT
A tenant can withhold their rent payments if:
- You neglect to supply them with basic services like heat and water
- They paid for damage amounting to $100 or half the rent, they may exercise the right to “repair and deduct” from their rent payment
If a tenant fails to notify you of their complaints, however, they need to pay rent.
6. SMALL CLAIMS LAWSUITS
If financial disputes arise between Kentucky landlords and their tenants, the landlord can file a Small Claims lawsuit in Small Claims Court. You may do so in the Small Claims Division of District Court of your Kentucky County. You can settle for up to a limit of $2,500 excluding interest and court costs.
Kentucky landlords and tenants must know their rights and responsibilities. As a state of Kentucky landlord, you must follow all state laws regarding your rental. Following the state law ensures you won’t pay for penalties or run into potential lawsuits. It will also help you navigate the eviction process should you need.
If you have specific questions, hire the services of a qualified Kentucky attorney. who knows the Kentucky law Or, you can seek help from a knowledgeable property management company, like Alltrade Property Management.
Please note that you should not substitute this post for legal advice from a licensed attorney. Laws change, and this post may need updating at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to the Kentucky landlord-tenant law. You can also contact us for any other property management questions you have.