Landlords’ Guide to Rental Laws in Kentucky

Kentucky, like every state in the nation, has its own laws when it comes to being a landlord and renting your space out to tenants. If you want to keep yourself out of legal hot water, you need to learn about the applicable rental laws in your area. Below are some tips for new landlords looking to invest in the state of Kentucky. 

Required Disclosures

In each state, there are certain things that landlords must legally disclose to prospective tenants. These disclosures are usually disclaimers about mold, landlord/owner identification, and other important pieces of information that the tenant should be aware of. 

In Kentucky, landlords are required to tell tenants where their security deposit will be kept, and the account number it is stored under. Not only does this disclosure give tenants peace of mind, but it also keeps landlords accountable and ensures that the deposit is kept in a separate, state-regulated bank account.

Also, landlords in Kentucky are required to provide a move-in/move-out checklist. Upon move-in, tenants should be presented with a comprehensive list that details all the existing damages to the unit. The tenant can inspect the unit themselves to confirm that the list is complete. Upon move-out, the landlord can inspect the space and should give the tenant a list of everything they may have deducted from the security deposit for repairs. 


Evictions can be legally complicated, so you may be asking questions like, how many lease violations can you get before you can evict the tenant? Or how many days does someone have to pay rent before they have to leave? 

If this is the tenant’s first lease violation in six months, under Kentucky eviction laws, the landlord can file a notice for lease violation wherein the tenant does have the opportunity to cure their breach within 14 days. If the tenant does not fix their violation or leave the premises in this allotted time frame, the landlord can file for eviction.

If a tenant violates their lease more than once within six months, their landlord can send them an unconditional notice to quit, which does not allow the tenant to cure the breach and requires that they move out within 14 days, after which the landlord can file for eviction. 

Also, if the tenant has unpaid rent, the landlord can give them a rent demand notice providing the tenant seven days to either pay what they owe or move out. 

Tenant Screening and Protections

Kentucky landlord tenant law follows federal laws prohibiting discrimination against tenants based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, or disability.

As a landlord, you are permitted to use a criminal background check as part of your tenant screening process as long as you have signed consent from that prospective renter. Also, when conducting a Kentucky criminal background check, you should follow HUD recommendations for using them fairly. Only deny an applicant that has a demonstrated risk of threat to your other residents or to the property. Do not use blanket policies for denying applicants with criminal histories, but do assess applicants and their criminal convictions on a case-by-case basis. 

Security Deposits 

In Kentucky, there is no limit on security deposit amounts, and landlords don’t have to pay interest on that amount to their tenants. It’s important to note that deposits must be kept in a separate bank account or lending institution regulated by the state, and they must return the deposit amount to the tenant within 30 days after the lease’s termination. 

Like most states, Kentucky allows landlords to withhold funds from the security deposit for damages beyond wear and tear or for unpaid rent and fees. However, something that is unique to Kentucky is that the deposit can also be used to cover the last month’s rent if both parties agree to it. In order to participate in this agreement, the tenant cannot demand the return of their deposit while having an outstanding balance.


Kentucky can be a great place to invest in your next rental. However, to make the most of your investment, you need to take the time to research the state laws that will apply to you and your real estate business. Knowing your state laws and regulations is the best way to ensure that you’re treating your tenants the best you can while keeping your reputation as a fair and reasonable landlord intact.

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