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Kentucky Landlord-Tenant Laws

Kentucky Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for Kentucky landlords.  We summarize key Kentucky Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  Kentucky Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in Kentucky.

Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering Kentucky

Kentucky landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord-friendly. There are 4.5 million residents in Kentucky.  Major metropolitan markets in Kentucky are:

  1. Bowling Green: Estimated population of 120,595, which 38% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $762.
  2. Elizabethtown: Estimated population of 113,443, which 39% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $789.
  3. Lexington: Estimated population of 470,849, which 41% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $817.
  4. Louisville: Estimated population of 1,258,557, which 33% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $818.
  5. Owensboro: Estimated population of 113,636, which 31% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $777.

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT LAWS IN KENTUCKY

 

Does Kentucky require security deposits? 

Kentucky does not require security deposits.

 

Is a security deposit receipt required in Kentucky? 

Kentucky does not require landlords to provide a receipt of security deposit.  Although it is good practice to provide a receipt.

 

How much security deposit can a landlord charge in Kentucky? 

No Statute.  Kentucky does not state a limit for security deposit.

 

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in Kentucky: 

Security deposits must be kept in an account used only for the purpose of the security deposit.  Landlords must inform the tenant of the location of the account and the account number. (KRS § 383.580(1))

Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in Kentucky? 

Landlords are not allowed to commingle. (KRS § 383.580(1))

 

Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in Kentucky? 

Kentucky does not require landlords to pay interest on deposits.

 

When must a landlord return the deposit by in Kentucky? 

Landlords must return the security deposits within 60 days.  If the landlord has attempted to notice the tenant at their last known or reasonably determinable address, they may claim and transfer the money to another account.  (KRS § 383.580(6))   For tenants who had unpaid rent or used the deposit for last month’s rent, the landlord must wait 30 days before converting the money to their account.  (KRS § 383.580(7))

 

When can a landlord in Kentucky withhold security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  Tenants are allowed the right to inspect the premises for accuracy of listed charges.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit for (KRS § 383.580(2)):

  • Unpaid rent and/or fees
  • Unpaid utilities
  • Damage in excess of normal wear and tear

 

Nonrefundable fees: 

No Statute.  Landlords can charge any non-refundable fees they deem fit.

 

Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

No statute for pet deposits.

 

Require written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide written and itemized list of damages and allow the tenant to inspect the premise as well to verify for accuracy.  (KRS § 383.580(3))

What happens to Kentucky landlords that fail to comply returning the security deposit?

No statute stating penalties.  Tenants are encouraged to contact the local housing authority for assistance.

RENTAL AGREEMENT LAWS IN KENTUCKY

 

Rental agreements required in Kentucky:

Rental agreements are required for leases 12 months or longer.  We always recommend having a legal lease agreement to prevent future complications. If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online Kentucky rental lease agreement.

What are the required lease provisions in Kentucky?

Kentucky requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list:

  • Rent Amount and Due Date
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Process for requesting maintenance and repairs
  • Length of the lease agreement
  • Subleasing policy
  • Late Fees and Penalties
  • Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Pet policies
  • Cleaning Fees
  • Other fees

Landlords cannot include:

  • Authorizing a person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement
  • Tenant agrees to pay the landlord’s attorney fees
  • Tenant agrees to limitation of any liability or indemnifying the landlord or costs connected
  • Tenant waives certain landlord liabilities
  • Tenant agrees to allow the landlord the ability to terminate the lease agreement or impose a penalty for a tenant’s request for assistance from emergency responses or peace officers

 

What are the rental agreement notice requirements in Kentucky: 

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: Leases simply expire upon the stated date for fixed-end, no notice required. Month-to-Month: At least 30 days. (KRS § 383.695(2))  Read our guide on Month-to-Month rent. Week-to-Week: At least 7 days. (KRS § 383.695(1))

What happens when the tenant remains without consent after the rental agreement expires or terminates?

Kentucky allows the landlord to bring an action for possession.  Landlord can recover 3 month’s rent or 3 times the actual damages sustained. (KRS § 383.695(4))

Does the lease automatically renew in Kentucky? 

Leases terminate upon expiration, unless stated in the lease.

Rent Increase Notice:

No Statute.  Landlords should include a provision in the lease stating the notice duration.

Rent Grace Period for Residential:

Kentucky has no statute on grace periods.  Landlords may proceed with Quit-Or-Pay notices the following day that unpaid rent was due.

 

Prepaid Rent:

No Statute.  Landlords may accept prepaid rent.

LATE FEES AND LIMITS IN KENTUCKY

Late Fees for Residential:

Kentucky does not define late fees limits and restrictions.  Landlords may add terms to the lease.

 

KENTUCKY LEASE TERMINATIONS / NOTICES TO QUIT

In Kentucky, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:

 

What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in Kentucky?

Kentucky requires a 7 day notice to pay rent, providing a Pay-Or-Quit Notice. (KRS § 383.660(2))

How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

Landlords must provide a 15 day notice to remedy or quit.  If the same act or omission recurs within 6 months, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement with a 14 day written notice without the opportunity to remedy.  Landlords must describe the violation in a written notice. (KRS § 383.660(1))

Kentucky allows immediate lease termination if the tenant is responsible for:

Landlords can terminate the lease agreement if the tenant breaches the same act in the rental agreement within a 6 month period.  Landlords must provide a 14 day notice to leave the premises.  (§§ 58-2564)

 

How many days when terminating for illegal drug-related activities?

No Statute.

KENTUCKY LAWS ON REPAIRS

Kentucky requires landlords provide a habitable property for tenants to live and enjoy.  There are specific provisions defining how tenants can remedy repairs if the landlord fails to do so.  

How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

Tenants must provide written notice 14 days for needed repairs.

Can tenant withhold rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

No.  If repairs are less than $100 or one-half of the monthly rent, whichever is greater, the tenant can notify their intent to correct the condition at the landlord’s expense.  Tenants can deduct the cost of workmanlike manner repairs and submit an itemized statement.  (KRS § 383.635(1))

 

 

KENTUCKY LANDLORD RESPONSIBILITIES

What must the landlord provide in good and working order?

Kentucky defines certain responsibilities for landlords, including:

  • Must comply with all applicable building codes affecting health and safety
  • Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to keep the property in a habitable condition
  • Keep all common areas of the premises clean and safe
  • Must supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water, at all times.
  • Maintain all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, HVAC and applies like elevators.

 

KENTUCKY TENANT LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Tenant must maintain a fit and habitable premise and is prohibited from intentionally or negligently damaging or removing any part of the premise.  Tenants must conduct themselves and others in a manner not to disturb the neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of their premises. 

 

 

KENTUCKY EVICTION LAWS

Kentucky requires a landlord to file an Eviction Case action to evict a tenant.   Landlords may evict tenants for the following:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Breach of lease agreement
  • Tenant refuses to vacate the premises after lease expired
  • Damaging the property

 

Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In Kentucky, it is illegal for landlords to attempt to evict a tenant not through a court order.  Landlords can be penalized 3 month’s rent plus attorney’s fee, and return any prepaid rent.  (KRS § 383.655)

Are landlords allowed to lock out tenants by changing locks?

Landlords cannot change locks.  (KRS § 383.655)

Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot change locks.  (KRS § 383.655)

Do landlords have to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages when re-renting the rental unit?

Yes.  Landlords have a duty to mitigate damages. (KRS § 383.670(3))

KENTUCKY LAWS ON RETALIATION

Kentucky laws state a landlord cannot terminate a lease, refuse a lease renewal or raise rents when:

  • Tenant submitted, or threatened to, a complaint to government agency for building or health code violation
  • Tenant has sent written complaints to the landlords about repairs
  • Tenant has organized or joined a tenants’ union, or similar organization

Kentucky defines a period of 12 months that would result in a retaliatory action. (KRS § 383.705)

LAWS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

A landlord cannot discriminate against prospective tenants or tenants because they have been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape or stalking.

Verify Claim:

A landlord is allowed to verify claim of Domestic Violence. (KRS § 383.300(5))

Can a tenant terminate the least if they are a victim of domestic violence: 

Kentucky state law says a tenant with proof of Domestic Violence status is allowed with 30 days notice to terminate the lease without penalty.  (KRS § 383.300)

Who is responsible for Recovery of Losses: 

No Statute.

Must Landlords Change Locks:

The tenants can change locks themselves but must provide a set of keys and follow state procedure. (KRS § 383.300(4))

 

KENTUCKY LAWS FOR LOCKS AND LANDLORDS

 

Are landlords requested to change locks before new tenants:

No Statute.  Before new tenants moves in, landlords are not required to change the locks.  It is always recommended to do so.

Are landlords required to install any specific security device:

No Statute.

Do landlords have to change locks for domestic violence victims:

No Statute.  However, landlords are allowed to change the locks.  (KRS § 383.300(4))

KENTUCKY PET LAWS & PET POLICIES

Kentucky Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any specific pet laws.  Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more.  Read our guide to pet policies.

Any limitations on pets that landlords can impose?

No Statute.

DO LANDLORDS IN KENTUCKY NEED A RENTAL LICENSE?

According to Kentucky Landlord-Tenant Laws, landlords do not need a rental license in Kentucky. Landlords and owner of a residential rental property do not need to register the property.  Local cities may have different requirements, we recommend you research the local city specific laws.  For example: City of Covington, Ludlow and Campbell County.

NOTICE OF ENTRY LAWS IN KENTUCKY

Do landlords in Kentucky have to provide notice of entry? 

Kentucky require landlords to provide at least 2 days notice(KRS § 383.615(3))

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Improvements to property
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants, contractors, mortgagees or buyers.

 

When can a landlord enter without notice:

Landlords can enter without notice in the case of an emergency. (KRS § 383.615(2))

Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

Yes. (KRS § 383.615)

Can landlords enter for showings?

Yes. (KRS § 383.615)

Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

Yes. (KRS § 383.615)

Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

The lease agreement should state if the tenant is required to provide notice for anticipated extended absence in excess of 7 days.  Landlords may enter the property at times reasonably necessary. (KRS § 383.670)

Can landlords enter for pesticide use?

No Statute.

KENTUCKY SUBLEASE AND ASSIGNMENT PROVISIONS

Landlords should include a clause in the lease agreement to prevent subleasing.

TENANT ABANDONED PROPERTY IN KENTUCKY

Kentucky Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any statutes declaring procedure for holding or storing terminated or abandoned tenants possessions.  Generally, landlords should hold onto the property for at least 30 days and attempt to notify the tenant at their last location.  We suggest holding onto the records for at least 12 months.

REQUIRED RENTAL AGREEMENT DISCLOSURES FOR KENTUCKY LEASES

Kentucky Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:   Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

HELPFUL RESOURCES

 

KENTUCKY RELATED COURT INFO & LINKS

Kentucky Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383 – Landlord and Tenant

  • 383.200-285: Forcible Entry and Detainer
  • 383.300-302:  Protections Afforded Victims of Domestic Violence and Abuse or Dating Violence and Abuse
  • 383.500-715:  Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

Kentucky Consumer Protection – Rental Housing Kentucky Commission on Human Rights U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Kentucky Real Estate Commission Kentucky Consumer Protection Kentucky Consumer Protection – Rental Housing

Kentucky Small Claims Court Limits:

$2,500 is the limit for small claims court.

Kentucky Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:

Yes. Kentucky Courts of Justice Kentucky Attorney General Kentucky Bar Association

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