Who is protected under this housing law?
You may be eligible for protection under the housing law if you are what the law calls a protected tenant. A protected tenant is a residential rental or leased housing tenant, applicant, or tenant with a minor household member who is protected by one of the following:
- an emergency protective order or temporary interpersonal protective order prohibiting all unauthorized contact;
- a domestic violence protective order or interpersonal protective order prohibiting all unauthorized contact; or
- a criminal pre-trial release no contact order issued for an abuser arrested for assault, sexual offense, or violation of a protective order.1
1 K.R.S. § 383.300(2)(b)(1), (2)(b)(2)
How does this housing law protect me?
This law applies to leases created or renewed after June 29, 2017 and offers various protections to you if you are a protected tenant. First, you have the right to terminate your lease by providing certain written documentation to your landlord.1
Second, if you are a protected tenant, your landlord cannot do any of the following because of your status as a protected tenant (your landlord may be able to do any of the following if s/he has another legal reason to do so):
- end your lease;
- fail to renew your lease;
- refuse to enter into a lease with you; or
- retaliate against you in renting or leasing a residence.2
Third, you have the right to install a new lock on your unit at your own expense (after informing your landlord) by:
- re-keying the lock if the lock is in good working condition; or
- replacing the entire locking mechanism with a locking mechanism of equal or better quality than the lock being replaced.3
Note: If your landlord requests a copy of the new key, you are required to provide him/her with one.4
1 K.R.S. § 383.300(5)(a)
2 K.R.S. § 383.300(3)(a)
3 K.R.S. § 383.300(4)(a)(1)
4 K.R.S. § 383.300(4)(a)(2)
How do I get out of my lease if I am a victim?
If you are a protected tenant and get a valid protective order after the start of your lease or rental agreement, you can end your lease or rental agreement by providing your landlord with:
- written notice of termination to be effective on a date that you must include in your notice and that is at least 30 days after the landlord receives your notice; and
- a copy of your valid protective order.1
If you are a protected tenant and get a valid protective order before the start of your lease or rental agreement, you can end your lease or rental agreement by providing your landlord with:
- written notice of termination to be effective on a date that you must include in your notice and that is at least 30 days after the landlord receives your notice;
- a copy of the valid protective order; and
- an explanation of a safety concern that arose after the start of your lease.2
1 K.R.S. § 383.300(5)(a)
2 K.R.S. § 383.300(5)(b)
Once I notify my landlord that I want to end my lease, do I still have to pay rent?
You are responsible for any rent due under your lease up until the date your lease is terminated and it must be paid on the normal date that your rent is due. If that termination date is not at the end of your normal rental period, the amount due for that month may be pro-rated. Your landlord cannot give you a negative credit entry or negative character reference or charge you any additional rent or fees because you terminated your lease early.
Note: If you sign a lease and then give proper notice to terminate your lease under this law before you move in, you cannot be required to pay damages or penalties as long as you terminate your lease at least 14 days before the date you were supposed to move in.1
1 K.R.S. § 383.300
How does this law affect the person against whom I have the protective order or no contact order?
If you changed your lock under this housing law, a landlord can refuse to provide the abuser a key to the new lock on your rental property, regardless of what is included in the lease or rental agreement. Additionally, someone who has been excluded from the property as part of the protective order or no contact order is still responsible for rent.1
Regardless of whether the abuser is a party to the lease or rental agreement, s/he is considered to have “interfered” with the lease or rental agreement between you and your landlord and s/he can be held liable in civil court for money damages that the landlord suffers for early termination of your lease.2
If you and the person against whom you have the protective order or no contact order are co-tenants, the landlord also has the right to refuse to allow the abuser access to the rental property and the landlord can pursue all available legal remedies against him/her, including lease termination, eviction, and suing for money damages.3
1 K.R.S. § 383.300(4)(a)(2)
2 K.R.S. § 383.300(5)(d)
3 K.R.S. § 383.300(6)