Kentucky Rental Laws

Written on April 18, 2014 by , updated on November 1, 2017

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.

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318 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Barb

    If you were renting a house and the previous renters left stuff behind and it was never removed in 4 months whos property is it. The previous renters never talked to the landlord about holding they just up and left.

  • H. Kelly

    I have a dispute with my LL. Basically she is avoiding maintenance. So I gave her a 30 day notice and I wanted to break my lease. The lease I signed said nothing about terminating early. All it stated was to terminate lease I needed to give a 30 day notice, which I did. Now shes talking about its a ‘lease’ so I’m obligated to stay for the full 12 months. Am I in the right?

  • Bridgett

    My question is,,, I had to leave my house because It is infested with black mold and there is no hot water, The ceiling fell in in the bedroom from the water leaking into the roof, One of the kitchen walls is gone and has mold all over it. The bathroom has some walls the are partially gone,, I actually killed a rat in my bathtub.. You can hear them running around at night,, half of the living room floor has fell in and I could go on and on.OK NOW!!! I had to leave the house and she broke into the house and left the window open in the rain and the door unlocked. What can i do to her???

  • Deborah Knight

    My landlord has not replied to my phone calls for over a week. I have the thermostat at 70 degrees and the temperature has not been above 50 for two weeks. I can see my breath when I wake up in the morning. (The one night I’ve been able to stay there) I’ve been staying with friends for two weeks. My rent is current. Can I break my lease?

  • BB Butler

    If my apartment is 96% furnished with my fiance and my things, the landlord hasnt performed a proper eviction, my name was removed from the lease and other bills by the roomate without notification of such, I was told to pack up and leave. I was moving anyways but not this way. Everytime I go back to get my belongings which is furnishing the entire apartment. my stuff is missing and im told to leave. Im so lost and worked up. How can they just erase me and me not even know? MY apt., my stuff, my bills….. NOt theirs. Now im not on anything and have no rights> PLEASE HELP ME !!

  • geoffrey spurlock

    If a landlord accepts late rental paymens and charges a fee, fee is on receipt. Can the landlord evict without offering another late rental fee payment at a future time?

  • Barbara

    I’m living in a I live in HUD housing in Russellville Kentucky apartment and a half refrigerator in here and I told my landlord I don’t keep nothing fresh and I’m a diabetic eat it too and my milk is always Cliburn I mean I’ve done told her 6 5 times and they said that they was going to replace the refrigerator they come in and fix it a couple times but of the maintenance man said that he told her that he was going to put a request in for a new frigerator and I still been Ashley and they have not replace the refrigerator yet what is my rights when it comes to the landlord cuz I paid my rent every month and I keep the apartment clean I do what supposed do thanks you

  • Clarence Everson

    My landlord just gave a 90 day notice they will no longer accept cash, or money orders as a way of paying rent. Basically, they want a check or certified check ? Most of the people in my community do not have access to a checking account, and they know that. Is there any recourse we have ? If the rules at the time we moved in ( Grandfather clause ) can it be used ? Thanks ! My E-Mail is not working and my phone # has changed, can you please respond here ?

  • Lee

    I live in a house I work on the farm for my place to live and I get paid 200.00 a week for 6 days of at least 8 hours a day boils down to 4.00 a hour . It is my mom’s girlfriends farm. I had put a lock on my bedroom door cause my personal belongings come up missing all the time. Now I am being told that all locks are getting cut off bedroom doors. I want to know if that’s against my rights. I would think I should be able to lock up my belongings so they won’t keep coming up missing. I had a lock on my door and not very long ago my room was still broke into by my own mother. I asked about it and was lied to then told the truth by my brother.

  • Linda

    We have a tenant whom I will say is acting like a bully towards us. She is full of anger, evidently about life and is happy to take it out on us. We have had to ask her to remedy a couple of things that are very plainly written in her lease and she gets extremely hateful. She has only been there 6 months and wants out of her lease and we want her out as well. She wants all security deposit money returned and she was told she can have it all if she will leave the house and yard as pristine as when she took possession. After 6 mos. there should be no normal wear and tear and if there is a bit, then it should be easily fixed. It was a new remodel when she moved in We are asking nothing else of her. No extra rent, no nothing.

  • Tracie Emerson

    2 properties listed by the Same landlord, however, the current tenants were unaware of the listings. We toured the properties and the landlord asked for applications to be submitted w/in 24 hours which we did. This went on for 2 weeks and then we were told that the current tenant stated they didn’t want to move at the last minute although the property had been listed on multiple sites for 2 different properties and the tenants didn’t know.

  • Ricky D

    We signed 2yr lease with another couple (family mem) they agreed to pay $350/mth I was responsible for collecting and sending check. Also, per their request I obtained cable/phone along w/internet total over $140/mth they agreed to pay $60/mth , we only wanted internet. 2 was later they refuse to pay their portion and haven’t paid anything at all. We paid full security of $1000 and full 1st month rent $1000,More than we could handle alone and would not have committed without them. Landlord said I can’t force them to pay their portion but they signed a lease too and now sticking us with full amount. Is there anything we can do? We have 7 children with 1 working. We are paying full amount on time but taking from our other needs. HELPme please

  • Derra Humphrey

    I paid through the end of my lease and my landlord is stating that he is not going to give me my deposit back. He emailed me and text me thanking me for taking great care of the house but is stating that he hasn’t been able to sell the house yet so he’s not refunding my deposit. What can I do?? Help me!!!

  • Michael McClain

    Hello, we rented a house that had no meter (part of a marina) the maintenance crew garage and bait shop were all on the same meter. We couldn’t get electricity in our name because there was no meter on the house. We were there for 2 1/2 years and it was never brought up. When we move out our security deposit was kept because he stated we were supposed to take care of the electricity? Does he have any right to keep our deposit?

  • Annie

    I currently own a house in a college town and wanted to know if I could lease the house to four friends? If I lease a house to them, can I rent to them as a family or is it best to rent it to them as individuals?

    Also, if one person breaks the lease 3 months early, are they entitled to their deposit? I am under the impression that if someone breaks the lease early they should find a replacement to take over the remaining rent. is that correct?

    Thank you.

  • Manny

    In Kentucky # I moved into a friends apartment after him and his girlfriend split. I paid him half the rent for one month up front. On the 27 th he asked me for the following months rent. I told him I would have it the following week, the 5th 30 days after I paid the first time. I am not on the lease nor was the landlord contacted about me staying in the apartment. He got very upset and decided to move all of my stuff out while I was at work. I have a key and many people know I was living there. What are my rights? I have belongings still inside that I would like to peacefully remove. But he is refusing to allow me inside. Again I have a key and could go in when he isn’t there but I want to stay within the limits of the law.

  • Russell Campbell

    We live on a 300 acre working cattle farm, we rent a house on the farm. Our property is fenced off from the rest of the farm. Coming home yesterday we notice for sale signs along the entrance to our house. The owner is selling the farm. It’s listed as 1317, although our home address is 1323, there’s a trailor on the farm as well and it’s address may be 1317. Pictures of our house and property are all over the listing. So we wonder does the sale of the property affect us as mentors??!! We love farm life, and what a sketchy move to sell the property and never mention it to the people living on it!

  • Christy McKinney

    When moving I was told due to pet damage they would be replacing the carpet.When moving in carpet had been cleaned,not replaced.Pulling back carpet showed urine damage all through requiring entire apt be replaced. I am unsure if any damage preexisted.When prepping to move they would not provide a price listing for costs I might incur stating the mgr would contact me with costs after she did a walk through with an additional 1.5% fee. I have received a bill of $2731.50 to replace/seal the carpet/floor. After deposits of $700 I owe $2031.50. I have requested proof of cost with no reply. I pd $50/mo pet fee. Can they charge me an amount w/out proof of cost? I’ve already received letter for collections but no reply to questions.

  • Hart

    We had no working oven for 3 years. We have lived here for aprx 5 years. Finally landlord brought in a filthy stove from the Re-store in which we had to rewire to get it to work. There were no drip pans under burners and when stove is in use, a flame behind the controls appears. 3 months later we were infested with bed bugs. Landlords wife whom is a hoarder admitted she had been treating her house (next door to the house we rent) for bed bugs. We didn’t know what was causing all the bites and itching we experience every moment. Our slum Lord stated “we can’t prove he gave us the infestation”. We have spent a fortune and countless hours in an effort to eradicate the bugs with no success. Is he liable?

  • Cw

    My lanlord has unlawfully entered my apartment several times it makes me uncomfortable. I only have a text message for proof but have had several incidents such as coming home finding donoughts left for me in my living room, basement lock being on the door and then not, and sitting in the living room with my daughter and him opening the door part way before seeing we were in there. He likes to carry a gun and we recently disputed over him entering my bedroom while my boyfriend was sleeping naked, he decided that was enough to grab his gun out of his vehicle. That also makes me very uncomfortable because I’m 20 weeks pregnant and pose no threat. What can I do? Can he bring a gun in my apartment?

  • Kimberly

    I live in neon Ky and currently rent a house and been here a year now. I told my landlord a month ago that I was going to be moving and at trying to find a place affordable and he got mad and put a note on my door to be moved out by October 21st,2018. Well I have electric in my name and yesterday the power company showed up and the man was giving orders to take the meter off my house said the landlord called them and somehow took the electric out if my name and back in his and told them the house was vacant and clearly it is not. I showed the man that in fact I did have power in my name here he said it was a dispute btw landlord/tenant and left but I have been researching and it is against the law to turn the electric off on tenants. idk wt

  • Elicia Marie

    I have a lease for three years on the house I’m in but the owner is wanting to sell bit if she does will the new owner have to abiid by it I am not rich and really don’t want to move again the lease should transfer to new owner right n he’ll have to abie by it in in Kentucky mayfied

  • Lisa H.

    I have a college kid who is renting a townhome with 3 other girls (they all have individual leasing contracts). One of the girls is demanding my niece’s friend who comes over to hang with her to a split all the utilities with them. She keeps insisting she is living there when she isn’t. My nieces friend does not live there and occasionally spends the night (she lives on campus). She has also taken approx 4 showers there over a 3month period. Is there anything we can legally do? There is no reasoning with her. I thought many states have rules that you have to stay 30 consecutive nights before u are considered a tentant. Is that true in the state of Kentucky?

  • Amanda

    We were doing rent to own on a trailer in my and the person that lived there before us said hot water heater was theirs and would leave it in there for 50$ we paid them for it and when we moved we took it with us and now landlord is saying we have to replace it. Or he is pressing charges

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