Kansas Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. Maintain all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in good and safe working order (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make and pay for repairs for items under their responsibility. They must do so within 14 days after receiving a written request from tenants (read more).
  • Tenant Options. Kansas law does not allow tenants to withhold rent or to repair and deduct, but they can collect damages from a landlord if repairs aren’t made in a timely manner (read more).
  • Retaliation. Landlords cannot legally threaten, bully, or retaliate against a tenant for exercising their rights (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in Kansas does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are & aren’t included.

Dwelling TypeLandlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single familyYes
Multi-familyYes
Fraternities/Sororities/ClubsNo
RV parksNot specifically addressed
Mobile home parksOnly if mobile home is rented, not owned, by tenant
CondosOnly if person in condo is renter
Hotels/MotelsNo

Mobile home parks have their own special rules and will not be covered under this article.

Landlord Responsibilities

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Kansas, as indicated below.

Note: some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability IssueLandlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair.Not addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks.Not addressed
Provide hot and cold running water.Yes
Provide working HVAC equipment.Yes
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting.Yes
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cookingNot addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet).Yes
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services).Yes
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe.Not addressed
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe.Not addressed
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean.Not addressed
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials.Not addressed
Provide working smoke detectorsNot addressed
Provide a mailbox.No
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack.Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances.Not required, but must work if provided
Provide working carbon monoxide detector.Not addressed
Provide a working washer/dryer.Not required, but must work if provided

Making Repairs

If tenants request repairs, they must put their request in writing. 

  • Sending notice – The letter must indicate all the repairs that are needed and a reasonable deadline for the repairs to be completed. The landlord will then have 14 days to make any necessary repairs after receiving written notice.
  • Landlord access – Tenants are required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs. However, a landlord must give tenants “reasonable” notice unless it’s an emergency.

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. Withhold rent – Kansas landlord tenant law does not outright state that a tenant has the ability to withhold rent in response to habitability issues.
  2. Repair and deduct – tenants do not have the right to repair the issue themselves and deduct a reasonable amount for the repair from the following month’s rent.
  3. Lawsuit – tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues. Tenants can go to Small Claims court or higher to get a decision regarding compensation for actual losses. Actual losses include repair bills, costs to stay somewhere else while repairs are being made, damage to furniture or other belongings due to the landlord’s negligence, medical bills, utility bills which were high because the landlord had to use electricity or gas to correct something that was the landlord’s responsibility, and so on.
  4. Reporting to Public Officials – landlords can be reported to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building or housing code of a violation.

Landlord Retaliation

Landlords cannot threaten, bully, or otherwise retaliate against a tenant for standing up for their rights. It is illegal to increase rent, decrease services, or refuse to renew a rental agreement after any of the following:

  • Complaining to a governmental agency responsible for enforcing a building or housing code of a violation materially affecting health and safety;
  • complaining to the landlord of a violation under K.S.A. 58-25,111; or
  • organizing or becoming a member of a tenant’s union or similar organization.

Sources