Kentucky rental laws summary

Not only known as the bluegrass state and the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, Kentucky is rich in history and good ol’ fashioned barbecue. Real estate investors of rental property can relax in the landlord-friendly state regulations. Although no law exists state-wide of a requirement for a business license for landlords, there are some localities such as the Cities of Covington and Ludlow that do require one. Be sure to check with your local jurisdiction.


At a Glance:

Late Fees: No statute exists specifically pointing to any limitation for a late charge.

Security Deposit: Security deposits have no regulatory rules governing how much can be charged.

Returned Payment Fee Limit: There is a must to post the amount charged of no more than $50.

Notice to Enter: The landlord must provide tenant with a written notice of two days before entering the rental unit.


Late Fee/Returned Check Fee:

According to Kentucky statute KRS § 514.040(4b), if a tenant gives the landlord a payment that bounces (is returned for not enough funds), that landlord may charge a fee of fifty-dollars.


Security Deposits:

There are no limits to how much can be collected as a security deposit, however, whatever amount that is collected must be placed in a separate account and may only be used for security deposits.  The bank information such as the name, address and account number needs to be given to the tenant. Additionally, the landlord must provide a list of known issues with the property including a cost to repair. The tenant must also be informed of the right to inspect the rental unit before move-in.

After the tenant moves out and the tenancy ends, the landlord must conduct a move-out inspection. The tenant should be present. A listing of any damage along with the cost to repair must be put on a written statement. Ideally, at the inspection, both landlord and tenant will sign this statement. In the even that a tenant does not agree with what is in the damage statement, his objections may be placed on the document and signed. The complete statute outlining the handling of a security deposit can be found in KRS § 383.580.



According to KRS § 383.595, Kentucky landlord’s have a responsibility to keep the premises “fit and habitable”. This means that:

  1. All systems including electric, plumbing, HVAC etc, must be provided in workable condition.
  2. All local housing and zoning prerequisites must be adhered to.
  3. There must be working heating and hot water from the months running from October through May 1.
  4. If there are any common areas, they must be kept clean and safe.


Right of Entry:

In Kentucky, two days’ advance notification is needed before a landlord may enter the rental unit. However, in the case of an emergency, no notice is needed.


Notice to End Lease: 

Kentucky’s notice to end the lease is determined by the length of lease. If a lease runs on a month to month basis, a thirty days’ notice is needed; week to week basis would require a seven days’ notice and for leases with a definitive beginning and ending date, also known as a fixed date lease, the notice would be as it is specified in the lease.



There is not a Kentucky landlord that looks forward to an eviction. Actually there is not a real estate investor anywhere that enjoys them. Being in the “know”, however goes a long way! In Kentucky, if a tenant does not pay the rent, a 7-day notice is provided that gives that tenant the opportunity to pay or warning if they do not pay, the lease is terminated. For violations that are not payment oriented, a written notice of fourteen days giving the tenant the opportunity to take care of the issue. If the tenant does not do so within fifteen days, the landlord can go to court and start eviction proceedings. If the same or similar offense occurs within six months from the last one, the landlord will provide the tenant a termination notice of fourteen days. This notice does not give the tenant a chance to remedy the situation.


Questions? Ask a Kentucky Attorney!

Have questions about Kentucky’s landlord-tenant laws?  We have you covered.  Ask in the box below, to have your questions answered by living, flesh-and-blood attorneys!


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DISCLAIMER: Wellspring Financial LLC DBA is for informational purposes only! Any information, legal or otherwise is provided “as is” without any representations, truth, accuracy, exactness or warranties, expressed or implied. Any data, form, or information provided shall NOT be construed or taken to be legal advice. You must NOT rely on any data, form, or information on this website as an alternative to obtaining sound, legal advice from a licensed or professional legal service provider

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