Warranty of Habitability in Kentucky

Last Updated: April 29, 2023 by Elizabeth Souza

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.

Quick Facts Answer
Landlord Responsibilities Hot/Cold Water, HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Sanitation Facilities.
Time Limit for Repairs 14 Days
Tenant Recourse Options
  • Withhold Rent: No
  • Repair & Deduct: Greater of $100 or ½ the monthly rent

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?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs No
RV parks Not specifically addressed
Mobile home parks Not specifically addressed
Condos Only if tenant is renter, not owner
Hotels/Motels No

Kentucky’s Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act is not enforced in every locality. As of December 2022, Fayette, Jefferson, Oldham, and Pulaski counties have adopted Kentucky’s Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (URLTA), in addition to these cities: Barbourville, Bellevue, Bromley, Covington, Dayton, Florence, Georgetown, Ludlow, Melbourne, Newport, Silver Grove, Southgate, Shelbyville, Taylor Mill, and Woodlawn. Outside these places, the landlord owe the tenant no duty to repair property up to code, except as agreed in the lease.

This Act makes the landlord accountable for failing to maintain the property or providing essential services (running water, heating, 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 Yes
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. Yes
Provide a working washer/dryer. Not addressed

Landlords are responsible to keep all common areas clean and in a safe condition.

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Repairs, Recourse & Retaliation in Kentucky

If a rental property is in violation of the implied warranty of habitability in Kentucky, state laws outline how the repair process works, what tenants can do if repairs aren’t made, and how tenants are protected against retaliating landlords.

Requesting Repairs in Kentucky

Kentucky tenants must request repairs by writing to the landlord describing the issue. To reserve the relevant legal options, the tenant must also state actions they might take if the landlord does not make timely repairs, such as canceling the lease altogether.

An example of language a tenant might use to state these intentions is: “If the landlord hasn’t remedied the issue in 14 days, the renter may exercise his right to cancel the rental agreement on [date], which is 30 or more days from today.

Renter’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Kentucky

Kentucky renters have the right to repairs for issues that affect health and safety, unless they caused the issue themselves. The landlord gets 14 days after receiving written notice to remedy the issue.

If the issue isn’t fixed, the renter can end the rental agreement, or ask a court to order repairs or compensation. The renter is potentially allowed to repair and deduct, but isn’t allowed to withhold rent. Read More

Landlord Retaliation in Kentucky

Kentucky landlords can’t retaliate with raised rent, reduced services, or threatened eviction against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions in the past year:

  • Complaining to the government about health and safety.
  • Asking the landlord to do required repairs.
  • Participating in tenant organizations.

There’s an exception in Kentucky law for non-retaliatory, good-faith motivations. For example, a proportionate increase in rent following an increase in property tax isn’t retaliation.

Tenants can respond to retaliation by suing for quiet enjoyment of the property, and can recover possession of the property or cancel the rental agreement, plus recovering punitive damages.