Kentucky Tenant Screening

Last Updated: January 27, 2015


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Kentucky, officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth (the others being Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts). Originally a part of Virginia, in 1792 Kentucky became the 15th state to join the Union.

How to Screen a Tenant in Kentucky

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Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities

The Laws

Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, Kentucky has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current Kentucky Housing Codes on the Kentucky State Legislature website. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:

Recent Law Changes

A recent decision by the Supreme Court of Kentucky increases landlords' exposure to liability for injuries caused by their tenants' dogs. In Benningfield v. Zinsmeister, 367 S.W.3d 561 (Ky. 2012), the Court overturned past precedent and found that henceforth a Kentucky landlord may be liable for injuries caused by a tenant's dog that he or she permits to remain on or about the rented property even if the landlord did not know of the dog's dangerous propensities. Landlords: Don't Get "Bitten" by New Kentucky Dog Bite Law

Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures

Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.

Before Screening:

  1. Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
  2. Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF]
  3. Consumer Report Disclosure [PDF]

After Screening:

If you are ACCEPTING an applicant:

  1. Move-In Checklist [PDF]
  2. Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
    1. Owner/Agent Identity - this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
    2. Security Deposit - this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
    3. Non-refundable Fees - explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
  3. Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
  4. Move-In Checklist: In Kentucky, the landlord and tenant must complete a checklist before landlord can collect a security deposit. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. 383.580)
  5. Owner Or Agent Identity: Kentucky landlords must disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and address of the person authorized to manage the premises, and an owner of the premises or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and for the purpose of receiving notices and demands. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. 383.585)
  6. Security Deposit: In Kentucky, orally or in writing, landlords must disclose where the security deposit is being held and the account number. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. 83.580)

If you are DECLINING an applicant:

  1. Adverse Action Notice [PDF]

Step 3: Order a Tenant Screening Report

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