In Kentucky, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by Kentucky Stat. §383.595. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.
Applicable Dwelling Types in Kentucky
The implied warranty of habitability in Kentucky does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.
|Dwelling Type||Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?|
|RV parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Mobile home parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Condos||Only if tenant is renter, not owner|
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. Currently, there are 120 counties in Kentucky but only four counties and 15 cities have enacted ULTRA.
This Act gives additional protection to both the landlord and tenant. The landlord shall be accountable for failing to maintain the property or providing essential services (i.e., hot water, running water, heat, etc.).
If the rental property is not a jurisdiction that has adopted the Act, nothing in this article applies to you.
Landlord Responsibilities in Kentucky
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 Issue||Landlord 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/cooking||Not 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 detectors||Not 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|
Landlords are responsible to keep all common areas clean and in a safe condition.
Tenant’s Right to Repairs in Kentucky
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 state that the lease will terminate 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 two 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 in Kentucky
If the landlord fails to maintain the unit in good and habitable condition or make necessary repairs within 14 days, the tenant may initiate proceedings to terminate the lease.
- Withhold Rent – Kentucky landlord tenant laws gives the tenant the right to withhold rent until the landlord agrees to make the repairs.
- 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. The tenant must submit an itemized statement to the landlord and the tenant may deduct $100 or half the amount of the monthly rent, whichever is greater.
- Lawsuit – Tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
- 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 in Kentucky
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.
- Joins a tenants’ union or organization.
If the landlord decreases 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.