Demystifying Kentucky Landlord-Tenant Laws: Your Guide to Rights and Responsibilities


    Learning about applicable state laws is an important part of being a landlord. If you recently invested in real estate in a new place, you should make sure you know what is expected of you in this new place since each state is governed by different laws. Below are some noteworthy landlord-tenant laws in Kentucky. 


    Evicting a tenant is an unfortunate but necessary responsibility of every landlord. In Kentucky, there are a few different kinds of eviction notices that landlords must issue to tenants in various situations. 

    If a tenant has unpaid rent, the landlord must deliver a rent demand notice providing the tenant seven days to pay their debt or leave the premises. If they do not do either action, the landlord can move forward with evictions proceedings. 

    If the tenant violates a different term in their lease, they have 14 days to either cure the violation or leave the unit. How many lease violations can you get in Kentucky? In the case that the tenant violates their lease twice within six months, the landlord does not need to give the tenant a chance to fix the issue and can file for eviction after waiting 14 days. 

    If you’re ever in doubt about Kentucky eviction laws, be sure to contact an attorney. Evicting a tenant is never an easy decision, so you want to be sure that you’re doing so in the most legal and fair way. 

    Tenant Screening

    Kentucky landlord tenant law upholds federal fair housing regulations in banning discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, or disability. When screening applicants, follow fair housing regulations to ensure that you’re treating all tenants justly. 

    A Kentucky criminal background check is permitted during tenant screening, but landlords must follow HUD recommendations for using them impartially. Try to assess applicants on a case-by-case basis, and do not use blanket policies for denying anyone with a criminal background. Criminal background checks should only be used to identify and assess direct threats to the property, the lease terms, or to your other tenants.

    Rent and Other Fees

    Unless otherwise specified in the lease, rent is due at the beginning of each month according to Kentucky state law. However, application fees, rent increases, late fees, and grace periods are not regulated. 

    If a tenant’s check for rent or other fees bounces, the landlord can charge them $50 to cover any fees incurred from the bank. However, if the landlord fails to provide essential services like heat or running water, the tenant can deduct the reasonable cost of losing that service from rent. The tenant can also recover damages on the diminished fair rental value of the unit, or they can find substitute housing.

    Security Deposits

    Landlords must keep their tenants’ security deposits in a separate bank account from their personal assets. This bank account also must be regulated by the state of Kentucky, or by a federal agency. 

    Landlords may withhold funds from the security deposit for things like unpaid rent or damages, but they must provide an itemized list of each deduction when the tenant moves out. It’s important to note that, if both parties agree to it, the security deposit can be used to pay the last month’s rent. The deposit must be returned to the tenant within 30 days.

    However, there is no limit on security deposit amounts, and landlords are not required to pay interest on those deposits to tenants while in their care. 


    Whether you’re a seasoned Kentucky landlord or just starting out, it’s necessary to keep yourself updated on the laws in your state, which frequently change. Maintaining a good reputation and treating your tenants with respect should be top priorities for your rental business, and following all your state laws is a great way to do so.