State Rules and Regulations for Kentucky Rental Properties and Landlords
In Kentucky, a landlord-tenant agreement exists according to law (KRS Chapter 383) where ever an agreed upon amount of rent is exchanged for inhabiting a property, even without a written lease. Tenants have rights under the agreement including the right to habitable living and the right to pursue some forms of alternate action.
Landlords too have the right to collect rent and the reimbursement of costs for damages that exceed normal wear and tear.
Kentucky Official Rules and Regulations
- Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383 – Landlord and Tenant
- Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.535 – Exclusions from Application
- Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 413 – Limitation of Actions
Security Deposits and Kentucky Regulations
- Standard limit/maximum amount – N/A
- Interest and Maintenance – Landlords must put a security deposit in a federally-regulated banking institution. Landlords are not required to pay out interest gained on these funds.
- Time limit for return – After calculating and agreeing upon and security deposit deduction, tenants have 60 days to claim the rest of the security deposit.
- Penalty if not returned on time – There is no timeframe for security deposit returns in Kentucky law. However, tenants can bring legal action against landlords.
- Allowable deductions – Kentucky landlords can make deductions for missed rent payments or damages to house structures beyond regular wear and tear. Landlords can also deduct for lease violations that have caused them to lose money.
- Rent is due based on the agreement of both parties at the time the lease was signed.
- If no other agreement is in place, rent is due at the beginning of the month.
- A definitive time frame for a rental can be set within the agreement.
- If no agreement exists, the lease is week-to-week for tenants who pay weekly rent and month-to month in all other payment situations.
- There is no statute regarding late fees for payments. The lease agreement can contain an amount for a late fee. If the agreement contains no provision for a late fee, one cannot be imposed by the landlord.
- Landlords must give 30 days written notice in order to increase the rent or change any other term in a month-to-month contract.
- Rent prices cannot be increased during the term of the lease – unless otherwise stated within the lease.
Notices and Entry Under Kentucky Law
- Definition of Notice: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.560
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No statute. Typically, no notice is needed as the lease simply expires.
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 30 days (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.695(2)).
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: 7 days (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.695(1)).
- Termination for Nonpayment: 7 days to remedy or quit (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.660(2)).
- Termination for Lease Violation: 15 days to remedy or quit. Repeating offenders who commit the same violation within 6 months, after already received notice once before, can be given an unconditional quit notice (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.660(1)).
- Termination under Labor Contract: “When a tenant enters or holds premises by virtue of a contract in which it is stipulated that he is to labor for his landlord, and he fails to begin to labor, or if, having begun, without good cause fails to comply with his contract, his right to the premises shall at once cease, and he shall abandon them without demand or notice” (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.130).
- Required Notice before Entry: Two days, and landlord may only enter the premises at reasonable times (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.615).
- Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.615)
- Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.615)
- Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.615)
- Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute.
- Notice of Extended Absence: If specified in the rental agreement, the tenant must give notice to the landlord of any absence of 7 days or longer. If the tenant fails to do so, the tenant can be held responsible for any damages resulting from his/her absence (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.670 and §383.620).
- Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Yes (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.670)
- Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
- Lockouts Allowed: No (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.655).
- Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.655).
- Consequences for Self-Help Eviction: Three months periodic rent, reasonable attorney’s fees, and the return of any prepaid rent. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.655)
Evictions in Kentucky
Kentucky landlords can pursue legal eviction for the following reasons:
- Nonpayment of rent – If a tenant fails to pay rent by the due date, landlords can issue a 7-Day Notice to Pay. If the tenant does not pay within 7 days of receiving the notice, landlords can commence eviction proceedings.
- Violation of lease terms – Kentucky landlords may issue a 15-Day Notice to Cure for first-time curable lease violations. If the same infraction occurs again within 6 months, Kentucky landlords can skip the 15-day Notice to Cure and file a 14-Day Unconditional Notice to Quit that requires immediate eviction.
- Illegal acts – Kentucky law does not explicitly demarcate which criminal acts are justification for eviction. Landlords can determine these conditions in individual lease agreements.
It is illegal for Kentucky landlords to evict tenants for their membership in a protected class. It is also unlawful to evict a tenant as a form of retaliation for:
- Notifying officials about health or safety violations
- Joining a tenant union or organization
- Filing a request for maintenance
State Agencies & Regulatory Bodies
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Kentucky – Rental Help
- Kentucky Criminal Record Search
- Kentucky Commission on Human Rights
- Kentucky Department for Public Health
- Kentucky Housing Corporation
- Kentucky Housing Association (association of Kentucky public housing authorities)
- Kentucky Housing Association member directory (pdf)
Realtor and Landlord/Tenant Associations
- Lexington-Bluegrass Association of REALTORS®
- REALTOR® Association of Southern Kentucky
- Greater Owensboro REALTOR® Association
- Northern Kentucky Association of REALTORS®
- Hopkinsville-Christian & Todd County Association of REALTORS®, Inc.
- Louisville Apartment Association
- Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Apartment Association
- Greater Lexington Apartment Association
- Kentucky Affordable Housing Coalition