In a survey published by Zillow, a surprising number of landlords revealed that they do not fully understand their rights or legal obligation regarding the laws for landlord-tenant rights. In the same survey, 47% of renters lacked understanding of basic rental laws. Landlords and renters are most confused about laws concerning security deposits, background checks, privacy, and lease termination. They are most familiar with discriminatory advertising, repairs and maintenance, and how to end a month-to-month agreement.
Federal, State, County, And City Laws
The majority of landlord-tenant laws are established by state legislation and vary depending on which state the property is located in. Each state has its own laws in regard to landlord-tenant laws and typically concern practical matters like the rights and responsibilities the tenants and landlords have. In the state of Kentucky, there is a summary of Kentucky Landlord-Tenant laws that apply to residential (non-commercial) rentals. These references are compiled from the Kentucky Revised Statutes Annotated and various online sources to serve as a reference and for people wanting to learn about Kentucky landlord-tenant laws, Kentucky eviction laws, and Kentucky renters’ rights. The major federal laws that affect all landlords and property managers are the Fair Housing Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination. And The Fair Credit Reporting Act dictates the ways in which a landlord may use a tenant’s credit history for screening purposes. Some counties and cities have specific ordinances regarding landlord-tenant rights, as well. So, it is wise to contact your city and county to find out those laws.
Landlords should familiarize themselves with rental law as it is relevant to every tenancy. If you write or have someone else draw up a residential lease that violates these statutes, a court could declare a particular clause, portion, or the entire lease unenforceable. Additionally, the courts could potentially award money damages to tenants as a result of your unenforceable or unconscionable rental agreement. While not common, a tenant with a judgment against you could potentially file an action for foreclosure against your rental unit! Stories of tenant and landlord lawsuits like these are public knowledge, don’t become a statistic!
Rental agreements can be difficult for everyday renters to understand. The unfamiliar laws, terminology, and individual rules of each landlord make them a challenge if you’re unfamiliar with your rights as a renter and what a landlord can — and can’t — ask of you in a lease. That is why it’s important to know what is and isn’t legal in your lease. Things to check are a large late payment charge, language that would allow a change in your lease, your responsibility for damage and repairs, and a mold clause for just a few.
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