Investing in real estate in a new area comes with its own set of new rules and regulations, seeing as each state is different and expects different things from their landlords. However, Kentucky may be more desirable to new landlords seeing as they do not require landlords to obtain a rental license in order to rent out their property. Keep reading if Kentucky sounds like the state for your next investment.
There is no limit on security deposit amounts in Kentucky, so the landlord can decide what amount they require of their tenants. There is also no requirement to pay interest on those security deposits to tenants.
However, Kentucky landlord tenant law establishes that the landlord must return their tenant’s deposit within 30 days after the lease’s termination, and if the landlord decides to withhold any funds for unpaid rent or damages, they must list these charges in an itemized list and give it to the tenant with the remainder of the deposit. Also, if the tenant has unpaid rent, both parties can agree to use the security deposit to pay for the outstanding amount.
Additionally, keep in mind that security deposits must be kept in a separate bank account or lending institution distinct from other funds and that landlords are required to tell their prospective tenants where they are going to keep their deposit, as well as the account number under which the deposit is stored.
In Kentucky, rent is due as dictated in the lease agreement. If there is no specific time or place listed in the lease agreement, tenants should pay rent at the beginning of each month in the unit they’re occupying.
Application fees and grace periods are not regulated, and there is no limit on late fees. However, if a tenant’s rent check “bounces” or does not go through due to insufficient funds, the landlord can only charge up to $50 to cover any incurred fees from the bank.
Your tenants also have remedies they can use if you don’t fulfill your obligations as per the lease or the law. In the case that you do not supply essential services like hot water or electricity, the tenant can deduct whatever the reasonable cost of that service is from rent. The tenant can also find comparable substitute housing or choose to recover damages based on the diminishing fair rental value of the unit.
Fair Housing Protections
Under federal law, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against tenants based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, or disability. Kentucky state law does not add any protections to this list and upholds these protections.
A Kentucky criminal background check is allowed during tenant screening. However, the tenant must provide signed consent to being subjected to a background check, and there are several HUD recommendations for using criminal background checks fairly. You should avoid blanket policies that automatically reject applicants with criminal convictions, and you should only deny an applicant whose criminal history indicates that they’re a threat to their neighbors or the property.
Each state has their own rules when it comes to evictions, so it’s common to have questions about your state’s laws.
How many lease violations can you get before being evicted? In Kentucky, when a tenant has violated the lease more than once in a six-month period, you can send a 14-day unconditional notice to quit. An unconditional notice to quit does not give the tenant an opportunity to cure the violation, and instead gives them 14 days to vacate the property before eviction proceedings begin.
Kentucky eviction laws also dictate that if a tenant owes unpaid rent, they have seven days to either pay the due amount or leave the premises. Additionally, for non-repeat first lease violations, tenants have 14 days to fix the issue or move out before you can legally file for eviction in court.
The information above should have given you an idea of what laws you will need to follow as a landlord in Kentucky. If you’re unsure about any real estate laws, it’s best to consult an attorney so they can take your specific needs and questions into account.