Kansas residential lease agreements are contractual arrangements between you and your tenants. While landlords have a duty to provide a fit and habitable residence, you can contract to have your tenants perform certain major repairs if you wish so long as you provide certain essential services. Any written rental agreement should carefully outline your expectations of your tenants, your own obligations and the various notices and procedures regarding rent, repairs, conduct, return of deposits, termination and renewal of the lease.
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In renting and in treatment of your tenants, you must comply with laws banning discrimination on the basis of color, race, gender, familial status, national origin and disability. You may deny renting a unit to someone based on insufficient income, poor credit, criminal history, prior evictions or lack of credible references.
You also may not raise a tenant’s rent, stop supplying utilities or undertake any other actions designed to force a tenant out because the tenant complained to a governmental entity about the condition of the premises, complained about the premises or became active in a tenant’s rights union or organization.
As a landlord, you have these other obligations:
- Comply with all building and housing codes
- Maintain and make all necessary repairs to keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition
- Supply services such as heat, electricity, air conditioning, ventilation, plumbing and sanitation systems in good working condition
- Maintain and keep common areas clean and free of trash and other hazards
- Supply running and reasonable amounts of hot water and reasonable heat between October 1 and May 1 except if the heat and hot water is within the exclusive control of the tenant or the law does not require the unit to be so equipped
- Supply trash receptacles and means of its removal
Your tenant also has basic responsibilities:
- Comply with building and housing codes pertaining to health and safety
- Keep premises clean and properly dispose of trash and waste
- Use appliances as intended and in an appropriate manner
- Obey the law
- Use the premises as intended and not for commercial activities
- Do not disturb the quiet enjoyment of other tenants
Contents of the Lease
Your lease has to contain certain provisions while you have the option of adding others so long as they do not conflict with state laws or local ordinances. Some cities may have terms that differ from other municipalities or which must be included.
You must also give a copy of the signed lease to the tenant and obtain a receipt or include it in the lease. If you do not give a copy but accept the rent, the lease is deemed received but the lease term may not exceed one year even if you indicated a longer term.
Your written Kansas lease should contain the following terms:
- Name of landlord and property manager who is authorized to manage the property, address where rent is to be paid and where request for repairs are to be directed (required)
- Names of the tenants and other occupants—have all adult tenants sign the lease so that both are jointly and severally liable for the lease terms, including the rent
- Description of the premises
- Term of the lease—weekly, monthly, yearly or other
- Amount of rent, due date—state a grace period and amount of late fees
- Returned check fees—$30
- Security deposit—no more than 1 month’s rent for unfurnished unit and 1 ½ month’s rent for furnished; no interest required or that funds be deposited in an separate account; return funds within 14-days of tenant vacating unit or no longer than 30-days or submit written, itemized statement with specific reasons for withholding deposit by mail with return receipt requested within this time
- Within 5 days of moving in, you must have a mutual inspection of the premises and inventory and sign a statement of the premises’ move-in condition including list of current damages
- Obligations of landlord regarding repairs and maintenance and of services—if you want the tenant to make certain repairs, then indicate this in the lease
- Obligations of tenant as noted above—you may include rules of conduct or others that are for the benefit of all the tenants and that protects your property
- Responsibility for utilities
- Major appliances that are being provided
- No commercial, business or unlawful use of premises by tenant or conduct that constitutes a nuisance or is unlawful
- Pet clause—may limit type of pet, weight and require tenant to clean up pet waste in common areas; may charge a deposit that is no more than half of the rent
- Subletting clause
- Right of entry by landlord to make repairs, inspect and show to future tenants or purchasers or if the tenant has been causing a disturbance or is otherwise violating the lease—no statutory notice required though you must give reasonable notice and enter at a convenient time; indicate that you may enter immediately if it is an emergency that involves the potential of loss of life or that the unit is in imminent danger of being severely damaged
- Notify landlord if absence from unit is 7 days or longer
- Notices regarding termination for nonpayment of rent, other lease violations—3, 10 or 30-days for nonpayment of rent and other material violations
- Notice for increasing rent—30-days in advance of the rent due date in a monthly lease (may not be for a discriminatory or retaliatory purpose)—if a fixed term lease, you can provide for a rent increase on a certain date
- Disclosure of the presence of any lead-based paint or hazards on the property for rental property built before 1978—both landlord and tenant must sign an EPA-approved disclosure form and the tenant provided an EPA pamphlet entitled “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.”
There are some provisions that you may not include in a rental agreement:
- Waive of statutory remedies available to tenant
- Waiver of right to sue landlord for negligence or to recover damages
- Right to recover attorney’s fees
- Allowing landlord to evict tenant without a court order
- Allowing the landlord to enter without notice at any time
- Charging more than the maximum allowable for security deposit
- Altering the notice and other procedures for return of the security deposit
- Allowing the landlord to take the tenant’s personal belongings for nonpayment of rent
- Clause forfeiting the security deposit if you terminate the lease before the end of the term
Security Deposits in Kansas
As indicated, you may not charge for a security deposit more than 1 ½ times the rent for a furnished apartment and one month for an unfurnished one. You are required within 5 days after the tenant moves in to conduct a mutual inspection of the premises with a check-in list and note the furnishings, appliances and fixtures and their current condition. Both of you need to sign the statement and retain a copy.
The funds need not be deposited in an interest bearing account though the tenant may request that you do so. After vacating the unit, you must return the deposit in full within 14-days and not more than 30-days after the tenant makes a demand or you determine any withholding for damages that are more than ordinary deterioration or wear and tear or for outstanding rent. If the tenant does not demand the deposit, you must mail the funds or what remains within 30-days to the tenant’s last known address.
Your failure to follow these procedures can result in a court action by the tenant who may be able to recover 1 ½ times the security deposit.
Termination of the Lease
Leases with fixed terms automatically expire on the last day of the term. Leases that are yearly but have no end date require a 30-day notice to terminate before the end of the year. For monthly leases, you or the tenant have to serve a 30-day notice and may do so without cause.
For nonpayment of rent for tenants that have been in possession for at least 3 months, serve a 10-day notice with right of the tenant to pay the total rent within this time to avoid eviction proceedings or having to vacate. For shorter tenancies, the notice is 3-days within which the tenant must pay the rent or vacate.
For all material violations of the lease, serve a 30-day notice and specify the term that was violated and that the lease will expire in 30 days if the breach is not remedied within 14-days. If the tenant commits a subsequent breach of the same lease term within 6 months, you can serve the 30-day notice specifying the lease term violated and that the lease will terminate in 30 days with no opportunity to cure.
Under the Servicemembers’ Relief Act, any tenant who is a member of the Armed Forces including any of the uniformed services can terminate a fixed term lease if the tenant receives deployment orders to move more than 35 miles from the premises for more than 90 days. The tenant must provide you with a copy of the orders. This also applies if the tenant is ordered to reside in government-supplied quarters. 30-days’ notice is required and the tenant is responsible for the remainder of that month’s rent, if any, but with no further obligations under the lease. The lease will terminate 30-days after the notice is given.
Tenant’s Right to Terminate
If you materially breach your obligations to the tenant such as by not supplying running or hot water, heat or electricity, the tenant can mail you a written notice specifying the breach and that the lease will terminate in 30-days unless you fix or remedy the breach within 14-days. If the same breach occurs again after the 14-day period, the tenant can submit another written notice specifying the breach and that the lease will terminate on a periodic rent-paying date not less than 30-days after you receive the notice.
There is no statutory right for a tenant to withhold rent or to deduct from the rent to pay for repairs.
Kansas residential lease agreements can be complex and should cover as many contingencies as possible that routinely arise in rental arrangements. Be sure that all your terms comply with applicable state laws and local ordinances. If you have any questions about your rental lease agreement, contact a landlord/tenant attorney.