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Kentucky Landlord Tenant Law and Regulations

by Editor | ezLandlordForms
Kentucky Landlord Tenant Law

Kentucky Landlord Tenant Law: An Overview

  • The Kentucky Landlord Tenant Law is a set of state laws that govern the relationship between landlords and tenants.
  • The law establishes the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants and provides a process for resolving disputes between them.
  • The law requires landlords to provide their tenants with a written lease agreement and to give them a copy of the Kentucky Residential Landlord Tenant Act.
  • The law prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants based on race, religion, national origin, or disability.
  • The law requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities.

Let’s understand Kentucky landlord tenant law and regulations through the following –

What is the maximum amount I can collect as a security deposit?
There is no limit placed on the security deposit charged to the tenant so long as it is reasonable.

Are there any specifications regarding the acceptance and/or placement of the security deposit?
Under Kentucky Landlord Tenant Law, Landlords must place the security deposit in a bank or lending institution subject to regulation by the Commonwealth of Kentucky or any agency of the United States Government. This account must not commingle with the landlords personal funds. The tenant must be informed of where the security deposit is being placed, including the bank account location and number as stated within the lease.

Prior to the tenant moving into the rental unit, shall there be a scheduled walk through determining the condition of the rental property?
Prior to occupancy, a complete list of any existing damage and a cost estimate for the necessary repairs is required before the tenant moves into the premises.

Can I require my tenants to obtain renter’s insurance?
Landlords may require tenants to obtain rental insurance, and could make the failure to do so a breach of the lease.

Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the lease.

May I charge a fee for late rent or a returned payment?
Late payment fees should remain reasonable and related to the landlord’s actual expenses incurred. Returned payment fees may not exceed $50 and must be specified within the lease. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 514.040

How much notice must I give my tenant before evicting them? 

Kentucky Landlord Tenant Law outlines the timeline by which a landlord must deal with tenants facing eviction. To do so, it is first important to recognize that Kentucky tenants carry certain rights, including a legal recourse if treated unjustly or not given the proper amount of notice. Kentucky does not have an explicit timeframe for landlords to provide tenants with before evicting; however, legally landlords must generally give at least thirty days’ notice before terminating any leasing agreement and acting on eviction proceedings. Kentucky law also dictates regulations concerning the timing and format of such notices as it pertains to giving tenants notice to vacate their homes. It’s in every Kentucky landlord’s best interest to adhere strictly to Kentucky’s state laws when evicting tenants doing otherwise opens them up to potential litigation from tenants.

What happens if the tenant doesn’t leave after being evicted? 

Not leaving after being evicted is a violation of Kentucky Landlord Tenant Law, and it can have serious consequences for the tenant. The landlord has the legal right to take possession of the rental unit, which may involve changing the locks or removing any belongings left behind. In addition, the tenant may be responsible for any costs associated with eviction proceedings as well as damages caused during evacuation. Finally, a tenant that fails to leave after being evicted could risk being taken to court and facing fines, jail time, and/or other penalties. Tenants need to understand Kentucky Landlord Tenant Law so they know how to handle eviction and what potential repercussions they could face if they don’t comply with the law.

If a renter refuses to leave after being evicted, am I allowed to change the locks on my property?

It makes perfect sense to want to keep your Kentucky rental property secure, but it’s crucial to be aware of Kentucky Law when deciding whether to change the locks on the house after a tenant has been evicted. Generally speaking, landlords must either obtain a court order or give their tenants a 24-hour notice before changing the locks in order to do so. The best course of action is to make sure that you comply before taking any further measures because failing to do so could get you into legal problems.

Can I file a lawsuit against a tenant who harmed my property?

In Kentucky, landlords have the legal authority to file a lawsuit against a renter for property damage. According to Kentucky Landlord Tenant Law, the landlord may ask the court to issue an order compelling the tenant to make any necessary repairs or replacements to the property. This can be a pricey endeavor for any tenant, depending on the extent of the damages, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking about renting in Kentucky. If you’re a landlord in Kentucky and you find yourself in this scenario, make sure you complete your homework on Kentucky Landlord Tenant Law so you know your rights and what to do if a tenant causes damage to your property.

My tenant has moved out, what shall I do with their security deposit?
When the tenant vacates the premises, the landlord shall make another list of damages and the cost of repairing them. The tenant must sign both “lists” the one at move-in and the one at move-out, in order to show that they agree, or refuse to sign if they disagree.

  • If the landlord fails to place the security deposit in a separate account, and/or does not furnish lists of damages as described above, they are not entitled to retain any part of the deposit.
  • Although the landlord may be precluded from retaining any portion of the security deposit due to his failure to comply, the landlord is not prohibited from taking legal action against the tenant to recover damages or losses.
  • If the tenant moves out without paying the last month’s rent, and does not demand a return of the security deposit within 30 days, the landlord may use the deposit as payment for rent. However, if the tenant moves out having paid all rent due, the deposit must be refunded if no damages have been incurred. In this case, when the tenant is entitled to a refund of the security deposit, the landlord should attempt to notify the tenant of the amount to be repaid. If the tenant has not responded after 60 days, the landlord may retain the deposit free from claim.

What is a common problem where security deposits are concerned?
At times landlords may try claiming deductions for items that are often characterized by the court as normal wear and tear. This situation may be prevented by realistically evaluating each deduction, providing proof of damage, as well as including repair receipts and pictures.

How can I end a Kentucky lease agreement?
Under Kentucky Landlord Tenant Law, landlords may terminate a lease by the following;

  • Week to Week: The landlord or tenant may terminate tenancy by written notice given to the other at least 7 days prior to the termination date specified in the notice.
  • Month to Month: The landlord or tenant may terminate tenancy by written notice given to the other at least 30 days before the periodic date specified within the notice.
  • Fixed Term Leases: Unless otherwise specified within the lease, the tenant vacates when the lease terminates.

Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable. Additionally, a tenant may seek release from a rental agreement with the court when a landlord does not abide by the state’s landlord obligations.

How long does the eviction process take?
As with any legal matter, exact timing is almost impossible as it depends on many factors. Overall, with no complications, the eviction process usually takes approximately 4-5 weeks.

How do I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
Often times it’s best to look for the obvious, such as removal of personal goods, whether or not the tenant has come back to the premises at any time during a one week period, and simply no food in the refrigerator. It’s extremely important to document all of the “proof” gathered in order to determine abandonment. When in doubt, if payment of rent has not been made, the landlord may always file for eviction.

Do I have to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
Except in cases of emergency, the tenant may require the landlord to give at least 48 hours notice of their intent to enter, and may allow the landlord access only at reasonable hours of the day.

Aside from the lease agreement, are there any additional documents necessary?
If the leased premises was constructed prior to 1978, the landlord must provide all tenants with the Lead-Based Paint EPA Disclosure and the Lead-Based Paint EPA Pamphlet.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.

Please view our Kentucky rental resources page for more information, and feel free to post questions about Kentucky landlord-tenant laws on our State Laws Forum.

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