Kentucky Tenant Rights Laws

Although renters are relieved of major responsibilities like property taxes and extensive renovations, there are still plenty of vexing issues that can come up throughout the landlord-tenant relationship. To govern many of these issues, Kentucky has a number of laws regarding renters' rights and responsibilities, in addition to federal and local laws. Read on to learn more about Kentucky tenant rights laws.

Tenant Rights: Repairs, Security Deposits, and More

First, Kentucky law protects you against discrimination based on protected characteristics such as race, disability, and familial status. In the housing context, acts of discrimination include refusing to rent to someone, applying different terms or conditions, and lying about the availability of a unit based on a protected trait.

During your tenancy, your landlord is also required to maintain the premises in a habitable condition. This means the landlord must, among other things, comply with housing codes materially affecting health and safety, make necessary repairs, and supply heat from October 1st to May 1st. However, you and your landlord can agree that you will take on specified responsibilities under certain conditions.

At the end of your tenancy, you may have questions about the rules regarding your security deposit. Kentucky's laws in this area are somewhat different from those of other states. Here, your landlord must notify you of any amount due to you, and you then have 60 days to claim that refund or forfeit it to your landlord. If you leave owing rent, you only have 30 days to make a demand for your security deposit.

Even though Kentucky law includes these protections and guidelines for the rental process, tenants are sometimes hesitant to assert their rights. Therefore, it's also important to note that your landlord may not retaliate against you by raising the rent or evicting you simply because you requested repairs or complained about certain code violations.

Kentucky Tenant Rights Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of Kentucky state laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship, including links to important statutes.

Statutes

Security Deposits

  • Limit: No statutory maximum
  • Landlord must compile comprehensive list of damages and charges, which tenant may dispute
  • Landlord must notify tenant of any refund due, and tenant has 60 days to respond
  • For unpaid rent, tenant has 30 days after leaving to demand a return of the deposit before landlord may claim amount owed

Paying Rent

  • May not raise rent during lease term (e.g. 1 year lease) unless lease allows; may raise rent upon lease renewal

Living Conditions

  • With 2 days’ advance notice and at reasonable times, landlord may enter unit for certain reasons including:
    • To make necessary or agreed repairs
    • Inspect premises
    • Show premises to prospective tenants or purchasers
    • In emergency (no notice or consent required)
  • Landlord must maintain premises in habitable condition: comply with housing codes, make necessary repairs, maintain landlord-supplied electrical, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning
  • Landlord and tenant may agree to other repair and maintenance terms under certain conditions

Discrimination

  • No discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, disability, or national origin (exceptions apply)

Ending or Renewing a Tenancy

  • Notice required to terminate the tenancy:
    • Monthly tenancy: 30 days
    • Week-to-week tenancy: seven days
    • Fixed-term lease: according to lease terms
    • Eviction: 14 days for material violation of lease; seven days for failure to pay rent
  • Eviction: court order required

Retaliation

  • Landlord may not retaliate against tenant for exercising tenant rights

Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Kentucky Tenant Rights Laws: Related Resources

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