Kentucky Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. Maintain in good working order all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, elevators, and supply running water at all times (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make and pay for repairs for items under their responsibility. They must do so within a 14 days after receiving a written request from tenants (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenant has the right to withhold rent, repair and deduct, report the issue to a public official or file a lawsuit (read more).
  • Retaliation. It is illegal for a landlord to retaliate by increasing rent, decreasing services, or threatening to evict a tenant for exercising their rights (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in Kentucky 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 parksNot specifically addressed
CondosOnly if tenant is renter, not owner
Hotels/MotelsNo

In Kentucky, the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act is not enforced in every locality. Towns, cities, and other local governments may choose whether or not to adopt the Act. If the rental property is not a jurisdiction that has adopted the Act, nothing in this article applies to you.

Landlord Responsibilities

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Kentucky, 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; heat must be supplied between Oct. 1st and May 1st of each year.
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).Not addressed
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.Not addressed
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack.Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances.Not addressed
Provide working carbon monoxide detector.Not addressed
Provide a working washer/dryer.Not addressed

Making Repairs

The landlord is required to make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and maintain the premises in a fit and habitable condition.

  • Sending notice – The tenant must send written notice to the landlord describing the landlord’s act of noncompliance and stating that he will terminate the lease after thirty days if the situation described is not remedied within fourteen days.
  • Landlord access – Tenants are required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs. However, a landlord must give tenants 2 days’ notice unless:
    • The tenant no longer occupies the property.
    • It’s an emergency.
    • There’s a court order granting the landlord access.

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made

If the landlord fails to maintain the unit in good and habitable condition or make necessary repairs, the tenant may initiate proceedings to terminate the lease

  1. Withhold rent – Kentucky landlord tenant laws gives the tenant the right to withhold rent until the landlord agrees to make the repairs.
  2. Repair and deduct – tenants have the right to repair the issue themselves and deduct a reasonable amount for the repair from the following month’s rent. They can deduct $100 or half the amount of the monthly rent, whichever is greater.
  3. Lawsuit – tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
  4. Reporting to Public Officials – landlords can be reported on a city or county level to housing inspectors if they are found to be in violation of any local housing codes.

Landlord Retaliation

A landlord cannot force a tenant to move by interrupting the heat, water, gas, decreasing other essential services, or evicting the tenant after a tenant:

  • complains to a government agency about a building or housing code violation
  • complains to the landlord about habitability issues, or
  • joins a tenants’ union or organization.

If the landlord has cut services, increased rent, or threatened eviction, and if the tenant has evidence of having made a complaint with the landlord in the past year, the court will consider it an act of retaliation.

Sources