Client Focused. Results Driven.
Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith

Landlord Tenant Lawyers in Northern Kentucky

Helping Clients Protect Their Financial Interests and Investments

Historically, property values continue to increase, which means having rental properties can be a great way to diversify your investment portfolio and have a mostly passive income stream. However, it’s important to understand the responsibilities you have as a landlord to ensure that you don’t run into legal trouble.

Whether you’re a veteran landlord or are just stepping into rental properties as an investment and income strategy, the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC, is here to help. We help our clients understand their rights and obligations under the law to ensure they conduct landlord-tenant transactions correctly and are able to deal with disputes and legal issues in a timely manner.

What Is Required for a Legal Rental Agreement in Kentucky?

Leases are formal contracts, and as such, they have specific requirements for what must be included in them. First, a lease needs to identify each party to the contract. This includes the landlord and any and all tenants. If a tenant has someone move in with them, such as a roommate or romantic partner, after the initial lease has been created and signed, the lease needs to be updated to include the new tenant.

The lease should also include the address of the property, the amount of rent to be paid, and when the payments are due. The lease should name the term and any other conditions. Leases are generally either for a fixed term, such as one year or six months, or month to month. Other terms and conditions you may want to have in the lease include things like who is responsible for what maintenance, who will pay the utilities, and whether pets are allowed.

What Are the Rules for How Landlords Must Handle Security Deposits?

The state of Kentucky has specific rules for how landlords must handle security deposits. Any funds being held as a security deposit must be kept in a separate account and can’t be combined with other funds, such as in your regular checking account. A tenant must be given a receipt for their security deposit, and that receipt has to include the bank and account number where the security deposit is being held. Landlords must return the security deposit within 30 days of the end of the lease or provide an itemized list of deductions that are withheld due to damage to the property.

What Repairs and Maintenance Tasks Are Landlords Responsible For?

One of the main reasons that people choose to rent instead of own a house is because they don’t have to worry about repairs or maintenance issues, such as a leaking roof or broken appliance. In general, landlords have the responsibility to keep their properties maintained so that they are safe, habitable, and in compliance with the local building codes. Any common areas in multi-unit properties must be kept clean and safe, and the mechanical of the property, including HVAC, plumbing, and electric, must be in good condition.

If a landlord doesn’t abide by these rules, the tenant is able to withhold rent or deduct the cost of repairs from their rental amount in certain situations.

How Do I Evict a Tenant?

Eviction is a serious matter, but it’s one that is sometimes required to protect your investment. As a landlord, you must follow the laws regarding evictions, including giving proper notice to the tenant. You must notify the tenant of your intent to evict them by either hand-delivering a written notice, mailing the notice to the property, or posting the notice at the property itself. You must have a reason to evict the tenant, such as failure to pay rent or violating the terms and conditions of the lease agreement. An eviction can be a lengthy process, so it’s important to work with a landlord-tenant attorney to ensure that you abide by all of the laws and have someone on your side to help expedite the process.

When Can a Tenant Break a Lease?

In general, when a tenant and landlord sign a lease, both parties are bound by that agreement, and terminating the lease early has certain repercussions attached to it. However, there are specific circumstances in which a tenant has the legal right to break the lease and vacate the property early. These include:

  •  The property presenting a safety or health hazard
  •  The tenant being called for active military duty
  •  The landlord’s failure to provide adequate notice before entering the property
  •  The tenant is a victim of domestic violence and must leave the property for safety reasons

If you have a tenant who has broken their lease, it’s important to consult with an attorney to understand if they had legal grounds to do so or if you may have any options for recourse.

If you need help with a landlord-tenant dispute or aren’t sure what you need to do to lease properties in accordance with the law, contact the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC, at 859-667-1204. We can help you schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys to get more information that’s tailored to your situation.