As a Kentucky landlord, LandlordStation.com strongly recommends you know Kentucky landlord tenant law. Though a comprehensive understanding is ideal, it's not absolutely necessary – a general understanding of both the landlord and tenant aspects of KY landlord tenant law should be sufficient to help prevent major landlord-tenant conflict. What follows is such a general overview, but is not to be taken as legal advice. For specific legal advice regarding your situation, contact an experienced attorney.
The laws that govern the landlord-tenant relationship and rental agreements in Kentucky are contained in Chapter 383 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes – specifically, KRS § 383.505-383.705. This section of KY landlord tenant law is also known as the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. Generally, when it comes to landlord tenant laws, Kentucky merely requires that both parties act reasonably when setting up the rental agreement, caring for the property, and termination of the rental agreement. A lack of understanding of these laws is one of the top causes of conflict in landlord-tenant relationships.
One of the simplest ways to avoid landlord-tenant conflict in Kentucky is to always be aware of and fulfill your duties and obligations as a landlord under Kentucky landlord tenant law. Your duties as a landlord are covered specifically under KRS § 383.590, and include:
•The obligation to adhere to any and all building and/or housing codes that affect health and safety
•The obligation to make all repairs and maintain the rental premises in a fit and habitable conditioning
•The obligation to keep all rental premises common areas in a clean, safe condition
•The obligation to maintain good working order of all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating or air conditioning, ventilation and other supplied and/or required facilities and appliances
•The obligation to supply running water and a reasonable supply of hot water at all times
•The obligation to supply reasonable heat between October 1 and May 1, unless tenant controls heat supply
•The obligation to provide written notice to the tenant of the names of both the manager and owner of the property
Note that it is possible to transfer some of these obligations – such as certain repairs, maintenance, alterations, remodeling, and supply of water and heat – to the tenant in certain situations if both landlord and tenant agree to such terms in writing. However, such changes may not diminish a landlord's obligations to any other tenants on the property or assist the landlord in evading his or her legally-established duties.
Although your duties as landlord under this law are really all you need to know and should know to protect yourself in any rental agreement, it is beneficial for you to also know your tenant's duties and obligations. Under the state's landlord tenant laws, Kentucky requires your tenant to maintain specific responsibilities, most of which involve respecting the premises and using it lawfully. Knowing the legal obligations of your tenant can help you spot problems and know when it is and isn't appropriate to exercise your rights and remedies. Kentucky law requires a tenant do the following:
•Follow building and housing codes applicable to tenants involving health and safety
•Keep rental premises reasonably clean and safe, including the safe and hygienic disposal of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other wastes
•Use reasonably and responsibly all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating/ventilating/air conditioning, and other appliances
•Refrain from deliberately and/or negligently destroying, defacing, damaging, impairing, or removing any part of the rental premises
•Always conduct himself, or herself, in a way that doesn't disturb the neighbors
•Maintain responsibility for all action and conduct, including that which is deliberately or negligently destructive, of all guests on the rental premises
•Refrain from engaging in any illegal activity on the rental premises
•Refrain from operating a business on the rental premises unless there is an established agreement between landlord and tenant allowing such business
When a landlord or tenant fails to perform and maintain his or her obligations and responsibilities under the state's landlord tenant act, Kentucky provides rights and remedies to each party. A landlord's rights include the right to terminate the lease agreement, the right to collect compensation or recover damages in court, the right to evict the tenant, the right to enter the rental premises, and the right to know about extended absence.
A tenant's rights under Kentucky landlord tenant law include the right to move in once the lease is signed, the right to terminate the lease agreement, the right to deduct repairs and other expenses from rent, the right to have essential services like running water and heat, the right to oppose unlawful eviction, and the right to oppose a landlord's retaliation. All of these rights, for both landlord and tenant, have very specific legal guidelines and clauses under KY landlord tenant law. Having a general understanding of the rights of both sides can help you as a landlord figure out what you may be up against, or what remedies may be available to you.
However, do not assume that your own failure or your tenant's failure automatically entitles you to one or more of these rights. Remember, this is just a general overview of obligations and rights under the Kentucky Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act provided by Landlord Station. For specific legal advice regarding your situation, please contact an experienced legal professional.
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