Kentucky Laws on Breaking a Lease
Breaking a lease in Kentucky, like any other state, has its consequences. Tenants cannot break a lease simply because they changed their minds or want to move somewhere else for basic reasons. Leases are binding contracts. Once signed, both you and your tenants must honor them.
This article will focus on the laws governing Louisville, Kentucky in matters of breaking a lease legally. It’s crucial that you abide by these laws as a Kentucky landlord to avoid potential legal issues.
BREAKING A LEASE IN LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY
Tenants who wish to receive their security deposit intact and minimize potential damage to their credit score should avoid breaking their lease early.
RENTERS RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN SIGNING A LEASE IN LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY
Even if you have solid grounds to evict a tenant, you can not:
- Prevent the tenant from using the property’s utilities by cutting off electricity and water.
- Change the locks of the rental unit to hamper a tenant’s access.
- Remove doors and windows to discourage the tenant from continuing to reside in his rental property.
You must follow the correct eviction procedure. In Louisville, Kentucky, you must send your tenant a 7-day notice to pay their rent or leave the property. You can also file an unconditional quit notice. This would give the tenant 14 days to move out if they had repeated this violation within 6 months.
TENANT RIGHTS AND DUTIES WHEN SIGNING A LEASE IN LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY
In Louisville, Kentucky, the landlord-tenant law stipulates that a tenant’s non-payment of rent requires a 7-day notice to either pay the rent within the prescribed period or move out of the property. Failure to do so can be a reasonable cause for you to file for an eviction lawsuit against them.
HOW TO END A LEASE EARLY – LEGAL JUSTIFICATION
1. WHEN THE RENTAL UNIT IS UNINHABITABLE OR DOESN’T MEET SAFETY STANDARDS.
As a landlord, you are responsible for adhering to the building, housing, and health codes in Kentucky. You must attend to repairs in the required time and keep common areas clean and safe. You must also provide heat and hot water at reasonable times for the comfort of your tenant.
2. WHEN A TENANT HAS HARASSMENT AND PRIVACY CONCERNS.
Kentucky Law stipulates that you must give 2-days notice before you can legally enter the rental unit for inspection. Except in cases of emergency, you must not deviate from this rule, otherwise, the tenant can legally break the lease.
Altering the rental unit’s locks to prevent a tenant’s access will result in their “constructive eviction”. Locking out tenants is illegal in Kentucky.
3. WHEN A TENANT BEGINS ACTIVE MILITARY DUTY.
A tenant who’s a Service Member must provide you with a written notice containing their official deployment. They must also have signed the lease prior to entering active duty. Further, they must provide proof that they will remain on active duty for the next 90 days.
4. WHEN THERE’S AN EARLY TERMINATION CLAUSE IN THE LEASE AGREEMENT.
If a tenant signed a lease with an early termination condition then they can legally break their lease. This condition might mention that they have to pay reasonable fees equivalent to 2 months of rent and provide a fixed period of notice. The condition may also not require a penalty fee but only reasonable notice, which would be beneficial for the tenant.
LEAVING A LEASE EARLY – LANDLORD’S RESPONSIBILITY TO FIND A NEW TENANT
In Kentucky, you are responsible for mitigating potential damages in case your tenant decides to break the lease. This places the burden on you to be proactive in the search of a new tenant to re-rent your property. If you do not find a suitable replacement tenant, your previous tenant will be liable to pay the remaining rent of the tenancy.
You must make a consistent effort to re-rent your property. You can’t remain passive on this and simply wait to collect the previous tenant’s due amount. You can still charge the tenant for expenses related to property marketing though. You must still ask for the same fair rent price and screen prospective tenants properly. If you still can’t find a suitable new tenant, the previous tenant is still liable for payment of the remaining rent.
LEGAL WAYS TO GET OUT OF A LEASE – CONCLUSION
If you have specific questions about the laws of breaking a lease in Kentucky, you should hire the services of a qualified attorney. Alternatively, you can seek help from a knowledgeable property management company, such as Alltrade Property Management.
Please note that this blog should not substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in Kentucky. Laws frequently change, and this post might need updating at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.