Kentucky Rental Laws

Written on April 18, 2014 by , updated on August 24, 2016

flag-of-kentuckyThis article summarizes some key Kentucky Landlord-Tenant Laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the Kentucky State Bar. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No Statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days for unpaid rent. (KRS § 383.580(6)) 60 days from date of notification if tenant does not file a claim/dispute. (KRS § 383.580(7))
  • Nonrefundable Deposits: No Statute
  • Security Deposit Interest: No Statute
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Required. Tenants shall be informed of the location of the separate account and the account number. (KRS § 383.580(1)) No landlord shall be entitled to retain any portion of a security deposit if the security deposit was not deposited in a separate account. (KRS § 383.580(4))
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: No Statute
  • Move-In Disclosure: A prospective tenant shall be presented with a comprehensive listing of any then-existing damage to the unit which would be the basis for a charge against the security deposit. (KRS § 383.580(2))
  • Move-Out Checklist/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Required (KRS § 383.580(3))
  • Advance Notice of Withholding: Required. The tenant also has a right to inspect the premise after receiving the itemized list of damages to verify the accuracy. (KRS § 383.580(3))
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
  • Receipt of Deposit: No Statute

Lease, Rent and Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: Rent is payable without demand or notice at the time and place agreed upon by the parties. Unless otherwise agreed, rent is due at the beginning of each month, and apportionable day-to-day. (KRS § 383.565(2))
  • Default Term: Unless the rental agreement fixes a definite term, the tenancy is week-to-week in case of a tenant who pays weekly rent, and in all other cases month-to-month. (KRS § 383.565(3))
  • Rent Increase Notice: No Statute
  • Rent Grace Period: No Statute
  • Late Fees: No Statute
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute
  • Returned Check Fees: $50 (KRS § 514.040)
  • Prohibited Lease Clauses: A landlord is prohibited from enforcing lease clauses found in KRS § 383.570.
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes (KRS § 383.640 and 383.645)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes, if the cost of the repair is less than $100 or 1/2 of the monthly rent, and the landlord is given 14 days notice but does not remedy the issue. (KRS § 383.635)
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes (KRS § 383.640 and 383.645)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages, including an Attempt to Rerent: Yes (KRS § 383.670(2))

Notices and Entry:

  • Definition of Notice: KRS § 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 (KRS § 383.695(2))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: 7 days (KRS § 383.695(1))
  • Termination for Nonpayment: 7 days to remedy or quit (KRS § 383.660(2))
  • Termination for Lease Violation: 15 days to remedy or quit. Repeating offenders for the same violation within 6 months, having already received notice once before, can be given an unconditional quit notice. (KRS § 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. (KRS § 383.130)
  • Required Notice before Entry: 2 days, and landlord may only enter premise at reasonable times. (KRS § 383.615)
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes (KRS § 383.615)
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes (KRS § 383.615)
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (KRS § 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. (KRS § 383.670 and 383.620)
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Yes (KRS § 383.670)
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (KRS § 383.655)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (KRS § 383.655)
  • Consequences for Self-Help Eviction: 3 months periodic rent, reasonable attorney’s fees, and the return of any prepaid rent. (KRS § 383.655)

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Landlord Duties & Maintenance: (KRS § 383.595)
    • Compliance: Comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
    • Repairs: Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
    • Common Areas: Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition;
    • Maintenance: Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by him; and
    • Heat: Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat between October 1 and May 1 except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose, or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
  • Tenant’s Duties: (KRS § 383.605)
    • Compliance: Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
    • Cleanliness: Keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit;
    • Trash: Dispose from his dwelling unit all ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste in a clean and safe manner;
    • Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits;
    • Appliances: Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises;
    • Lawful Activity: Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person to do so; and
    • Quite Enjoyment: Conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with his consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb his neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
  • Name and Addresses: Before a lease begins, the owner must disclose the name and address of the landlord, property owner, and anyone authorized to manage the property or allowed to receive notice on the owner’s behalf. (KRS § 383.585(1))
  • House Rules and Regulations: A landlord has the right to create rules and regulations at any time, under certain circumstances. (KRS § 383.610)
  • Domestic Violence Situations: No Statute
  • Retaliation: For 1 year thereafter, a landlord must not terminate, refuse to renew a lease, or fine a tenant for complaining to the landlord for a violation listed under KRS § 383.595 for complaining to a government agency, or being involved in a tenant’s organization, otherwise retaliation will be assumed. (KRS § 383.705)
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

Court and Legal Related:

Business Licenses:

Helpful Videos

Landlord-Tenant Overview for Kentucky

Eviction in Kentucky

Small Claims Court in Kentucky

NOTE: The maximum limit has been raised to $2,500

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284 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • tom

    I evicted some renters and four days later they were arrested. Considering abandonment, I had the contents removed and am storing them. Is there a certain amount of time that I might seize the contents and get rid of them?

  • Peter Marsden

    if i have an apartment on the property i live can I choose what kind if person I would like to live there since its my property where i live, so can i discriminate if i live too.

  • Taylor

    My land lady is a power hungry natzi! She wants the name birthday and social security number of anyone who stays even 1 night. I pay rent and believe I have a right to privacy.. what are my rights?

    • Susan Grall

      Not unless it is their permanent residence, they receive their mail there, then they should be added to the lease. Otherwise, it is none of your Landlord’s business.

  • sandy klosterman

    hi my tenant had a bout with bedbugs i gave her treatments for them since she wont let me in her room their gone for now but shes withholding her rent can she do this help

  • Sandra

    I have a house that rents for 950 a month in Louisville Ky to 3 college age students. We have been told by 1 of the tenants that 1 of the room mates is moving out and in fact has moved everything but the bed and dresser. We agreed to let them find a new room mate and have had no luck. We have never been notified by the tenant that he is moving out. The lease is 1 lease with all their names on the lease. The other 2 are paying and want to stay but can’t afford 950 a month. They only have their portion and want to pay us. If we take the 2 tenants who are staying portion of the rent can we start the eviction process if the 1 who is allegedly leaving? We have attempted to contact the tenant to discuss an he is not answering us back.

  • Lee Stamp

    I have been living in Low income housing in the state of Kentucky for over a year with my fiance but I was never added to the lease. Not that it makes it right but the local Housing specialist known about me being in the unit…. Can they just throw me out then and there or do they have to consider me as a tenant and evict me as a tenant? The county is Barren county Key (Glasgow KY) Housing Authority. I receive mail there this whole time and cook and eat my meals there.

  • Lee Stamp

    I would like to also add that they have already changed the locks and there has not been any notice to leave or vacate the premises of any kind I left and when I came back to the house the locks have been changed we are moving out anyways but did they still have any legal rights to change the locks with some of our stuff still in there?

  • sam pitmon

    I have lived in the steeplechase apartments for almost 3 years now. my rent has been increased by over 4% each year. after reading some of the rental increase articles I find that 3% is a reasonable amount . is there a law that prohibits rental increases beyond this 3%? is there any existing laws that are set for seniors for some type of increase protection?

    • Bryan Williams

      I recently sold a property over a month ago with a tenant still under lease. I was contacted by this former tenant today and was asked to return her deposit in order to give to the new landlord, saying that they told her to ask me for it. This seems questionable to me. Someone please tell me if she’s trying to get over on me or not?

  • Shannon Singer


    I have lived in an apartment for 7 years. Do I have any rights to request the place to be painted and some of the wallpaper to be replaced in the bathrooms? The wallpaper is rolling up in places due to the heat from the shower. The walls are not dirty, cause I clean them, but there are some spots that could use a fresh coat. Do I also have the right to request updated appliances if the dishwasher is extremely old and does not work well any longer. We love the place and would like to stay here for some time longer; but don’t know what let we have to stand on in our requests.

    • Alice Hill

      nA relative of mine lives in an income related senior apartment. Two questions! Is there any rule about changing carpet? We had hers cleaned before she move in 5 years ago ourselves, but nothing has been done since. It really needed replacing then but we were in a time crunch. Can she legally require the company to replace her carpet? Second, every year her rent goes up by the amount of her SS increase. In other words, she has not had an income increase in five years. Is this legal?

  • Monica Brown

    I am renting a house in louisville,Ky.. we’ve had issues with heating and cooling and the lanfowrs has sent someone but just recently sent someone else again when our heat would not work , I got a bill for 170 where has charging us for the heating and cooling services saying it’s because they had come out once before and it was just the filter. By law am I responsible for paying it ? Even if nothing was wrong isn’t it the owners responsibility to send someone out to check ?

  • kim mcdaniels

    My son payed first month and deposit on a place that was pretty dirty and damaged. The prospective land lord said she would clean and make all the necessary repairs. When they went to move some stuff in they found the place had not been cleaned and the damages were only covered over and not fixed. Is he entitled to his money back. He has never moved in and was not due to do so until the first of the month.

  • Carole Marie

    I Live and Intown suites in Louisville Kentucky and have for the past 11 months. I do not have another address ,I sleep here every night, I cook every meal here ,I have a daughter a dog and a husband & we consider this at the present time to be our home. Have been receiving mail here for the past six months. And with no longer pay taxes every week when the rent is due. Believe it or not there are several people here that I have been here for up to four years. I was wondering if we have any tenant and landlord rights that are listed in the laws or if we are even considered tenants instead of guests? Have been threatened to be kicked out and told that I would have to leave immediately over some of the stupidest things. But other than that we do like it here and everyone is nice. Please help

  • Carole Marie

    I Live In an in town suites in Louisville Kentucky and have for the past 11 months. I do not have another address ,I sleep here every night, I cook every meal here ,I have a daughter a dog and a husband & we consider this at the present time to be our home. Have been receiving mail here for the past six months. And we no longer pay taxes every week when the rent is due. Believe it or not there are several people here that have been here for up to four years. I was wondering if we have any tenant and landlord rights that are listed in the laws or if we are even considered tenants instead of guests? Have been threatened to be kicked out and told that I would have to leave immediately over some of the stupidest things. Please help

  • Lisa Witt

    I did work for Brantley Rental. For 37 years they banded everything I’ve been with them about almost 4 weeks and I can’t take it no more . Roaches that are unbelievable in Brantley excuse me Brandy circle that have foundations rotted floor is running through and they want me to put a Band-Aid on it and I can’t do it someone please call me 5023 507770 these places need help one duplex I went into the floor so write it out in the laundry room that you’re ready to fall through and they said they just repaired it and it was not done right please someone call me it’s not fair for these parents and children to go through this

  • John

    I have been living in the same aparon a breathing machine. The smoke bothers me. I have taken it to the landlady she agrees wih me and so on but has not yet gotten anything done about it. It has gotten worse she goes to work he sits up there smoking hacking and coughing. Then lies to his girlfriend so she sides with him and adamantly denies it when the landlady questioners her about it. The landlsdy has ssid she was going to send out emails and this and that but has not did anything. The more I comolain the less she is willing to do about it. Finally lsst month she all but told me she was not going to do anything to stop it. Her mother is old she has yo help her and they can’t come check at any time she refuses to make it stop. HELP ME

  • Ann

    I am a landlord having issues with a couple for consistently late rent, nasty house and even worse yard-had enough and gave verbal 30 day notice-received partial rent and need to know next step. Help.

  • tim

    I live and own my mobil home. we live in Harlan Kentucky in a rather small trailor court. upon moving our doublewide into this trailor court, we know that during the summer months these mobil homes get extremely hot inside when exposed all day in nothing but bright sunshine. the lot we decided to take has a few trees in the yard. we now have lived here almost 7 years.. when we moved here, I was made to use the plumber that the landowner suggested. I’m also a decent plumber. I know all to well how to plum out a mobil home. I was forced to pay 800.00 to his friend that does plumbing work. in which case, I thought that was wrong, but went ahead done it to save an argument. after the army corps of engineers got done building the levee for flood

  • Gena Vincent

    If a person rents and the water is in the landlord’s name and said person gets an eviction notice, can the landlord turn the water off at the meter and put a lock on it and put a bulldozer on top of it before the date the renter must be out!?!?

  • Naticha Jones

    So can a landlord scare you by saying I am going to evict you if you can the health inspector or the city?

  • Anonymous User

    I’m paying $950 per month for a rental house, but there are sewer problems, so I went a whole week with no working toilet. (Won’t flush. City said huge tree roots in sewer line. They repaired their half, landlord has not repaired his half.) So they got my toilet flushing again. Now it’s weeks later and toilet won’t flush again. Landlord still hasn’t repaired sewer line. So here I am, squatting over a bucket which I empty in the backyard. Landlord has offered no rent reduction or reimbursement because of this insanity. Am I really supposed to be living like this??

  • Christina

    I am confused about the security deposit bit. I understand having a separate account that the tenant is aware of BUT not that they should have the account #. Giving them the account number, combined with Google for finding the routing # for that bank gives them the ability to use that money electronically either during the tenancy or God forbid afterwards when its a new tenants deposit being held?! Can somebody give me some insight for this?

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