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State Landlord Tenant Law

Missouri Landlord-Tenant Law and Regulations

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Table Of Contents

Missouri Landlord Tenant Law: Frequently Asked Questions

Landlord’s Rights & Responsibilities in Missouri

Tenant’s Rights in Missouri

Tenant’s Responsibilities in Missouri

Missouri Landlord Tenant Law: Frequently Asked Questions

Are there rent control/rent stabilization policies or laws in Missouri?
The state of Missouri has not established rent control or stabilization.

May I charge an application fee, late rent charge, or a returned payment fee?
Reasonable costs should always be kept in mind when initiating any charges. There are no restrictions or limits placed on the collection of a late charge or application fee. However, a fee not to exceed $25, plus an amount equal to the actual charge by the depository institution is permitted for the return of each unpaid or dishonored instrument. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 570.120

What is the maximum amount I can collect as a security deposit and can I charge a refundable pet deposit over and above the maximum security deposit limit?
The security deposit may not exceed an amount greater than two months’ rent. There is no limit on a pet deposit, assuming that it is designated as such and detailed separately within the lease.

Do I need a separate bank account for the security deposit?
There are no requirements stating that a landlord must place the security deposit in a separate escrow account in Missouri. However, if a property management company is managing the property and collecting the rent and security deposit, and holding those deposits for the landlord, Missouri real estate brokerage guidelines require that the property management company hold the deposits in a separate escrow account. It is not necessary to specify the escrow account information in the lease.

After my tenant has moved, how long do I have to send their security deposit back?
If proper notice is given, landlords must return the security deposit or the balance of the security deposit with an accounting of the deductions within 30 days. If non-proper or no notice is given, the landlord has 30 days after becoming aware that the rental unit is vacated, or tenancy has been terminated in order to return the security deposit. Please Note: funds may be withheld from the security deposit to cover unpaid rent or damages. “Damages” is defined as deterioration to the premises or contents of the premises, but doesn’t include “normal, non-abusive living” or any failure of the landlord to comply with the landlord’s obligations.

What is a common problem where security deposits are concerned?
A fairly common issue regarding the return of a security deposit is obtaining a forwarding address for the tenant. To circumvent this problem a landlord should insist upon a mailing address that is separate from the rental location, such as a post-office box.

How can I end a Missouri lease agreement?
A fixed-term lease is a lease that has a beginning date and an end date. The lease agreement would supply the language to end a fixed-term lease. The lease agreement would also specify whether a notice is needed or whether the lease would simply end at the end of the agreement. A periodic lease is a lease that continues from term to term (i.e. month to month). Periodic leases continue until either a landlord or tenant gives the other notice of at least 30 days. Where no written lease is used the notice requirements would be the same as if a periodic lease was in place.

Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable or If the tenant is called to active military duty. Additionally, a tenant may seek release from a rental agreement with the court when a landlord does not abide by the state’s landlord obligations.

In the event of the death of a tenant, what are my legal rights as a landlord?
The landlord has the right to terminate the lease if the rent is not being paid, and sue the estate of the decedent for any unpaid rent. If the rent is being paid, the lease would continue unaffected.

What is the notice that is required for Non-payment of Rent?
While the statute in Missouri provides that demand for rent must be made as a requirement for filing a Landlord-Tenant action, there is no set method for demanding the rent, and it may be done verbally. In addition, the statute provides that if prior demand was not made on the tenant, the service of the summons for the Landlord-Tenant action serves as a demand for the rent. For an Unlawful Detainer Rent & Possession case, the tenant must be served personally at least 4 days in advance of the court date, and in a Rent & Possession case for possession only, the summons must be posted at least 10 days prior to the court date.

Are there special requirements for the delivery or service of notices, for example, constable, sheriff or a registered process server, taped to the entrance, certified mail, etc.?
Lease termination notices must be hand-delivered, and can be received by an adult person. In the event the tenant cannot be found at the property, the termination notice may be posted on the door.

How long does the eviction process take?
It depends on many factors but generally, it takes approximately 4-6 weeks to get possession.

My tenant has not moved out and I was awarded possession by a judge. Can I lock my tenant out? How do I remove him?
There is a 10-day right to appeal the judgment. After the 10-day period has passed, the landlord may file an Execution of the judgment with the court. The Court will process the paperwork and either forward it to the attorney/landlord or the sheriff’s department. Once the sheriff’s fees are paid, the sheriff will make an appointment with the landlord to supervise the eviction and keep the peace. The sheriff will remove the tenant if necessary, but the landlord is required to provide the manpower to remove the belongings, if necessary. The sheriff will allow the landlord to change the locks once all of the tenant’s belongings have been removed.

How do I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
Often times a tenant will leave without notice and leave property behind. The best way for the landlord to handle this is to go through the courts. It is generally up to the judge to determine if a property is in fact abandoned.

Do I have to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
Landlords must give reasonable notice (24 hours) except in cases of emergency.

Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the Lease.

Can I increase rent for no reason?

Yes, you can increase rent based on market value. However, in accordance with state laws and the conditions of the lease, you are required to give a formal written notice to your renter.

Can I evict my tenant with no warning?

According to state law, you can order your tenant to leave the property right away in extremely narrow situations. This usually occurs when your tenant has engaged in illicit activity. To formally file a claim with the courts to evict your tenant, you must typically follow a highly specific and time-consuming procedure.

Landlord’s Rights & Responsibilities in Missouri

The Missouri landlord-tenant law establishes the duties and privileges of landlords in relation to rental homes and renters.

1. Rent

Based on state laws, a landlord is permitted to raise the rent. Landlords are not permitted to arbitrarily raise the rent at any time for retaliation. If a tenant has a lease agreement, the landlord may not increase the rent until the end of the term of the agreement, unless otherwise specified in the agreement. Month-to-month agreements permit landlords to increase the rent or modify any other aspect of the contract as long as they provide adequate notice. In the majority of states, sufficient notice must be given in writing and sent by certified mail with at least 30 days’ notice.

2. Landlord’s Access To Property

A renter is granted sole use of the rented property when they sign a lease. As a result, unless otherwise permitted by the provisions of the rental agreement or applicable legislation, the landlord has no right to enter the property.

A landlord must generally give at least 24 hours notice before entering the property, and most jurisdictions forbid them from doing so unless they have a valid reason.

Landlords must notify their renters in advance if they plan to access the rental unit. Only in cases of an emergency, like a significant water leak or a fire, is a landlord allowed to enter a property without giving prior warning. State law may require a landlord to give 48 hours notice before accessing a rental property in some circumstances, although a tenant and landlord can agree to grant entry earlier if there is an urgent plumbing problem.

For instance, if the landlord is aware that the existing tenants are leaving the property, they are required to give 24 hours notice before accessing the rental property to perform repairs or display the unit to potential tenants.

While Florida only needs 12 hours’ notice, others like Alabama and Arizona demand two days’ notice. However, a 24-hour notice is usually sufficient in most scenarios.

3. Security Deposits

State regulations frequently place restrictions on the amount of security deposits that landlords may request. If a state has “no statutory restriction,” it indicates that there is no state statute limiting the amount of security deposit that a landlord may demand.

Security Deposits for different states:

Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, Utah, and Vermont are examples of states without legislated limits.

States like Virginia allow a landlord to request a security deposit equal to up to two months’ worth of rent. Pennsylvania is a little more explicit; for the first year of tenancy, a landlord may request two months’ rent as a security deposit, one month’s rent for the second year, and no security deposit at all for any succeeding years. For a security deposit, the majority of states, including Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Alabama, only permit the collection of one month’s rent. In California, a landlord has the right to demand that a renter give a security deposit equal to two months’ worth of rent for unfurnished properties and three months’ worth of rent for furnished properties.

Additionally, landlords are allowed to charge tenants with waterbeds an additional 1/2 month’s rent in California. In several states, landlords are permitted to demand an additional deposit from tenants who are bringing pets.

4. Repairs and Maintenance

Renters are entitled to immediate maintenance and repair from their landlords. Within 24 hours, serious concerns like heating or plumbing must be resolved. A landlord is required by the majority of municipal and state legislation to keep a property in livable condition. These specifications include: 

  • a sufficient weatherproofing system to prevent leaks in the house, 
  • enough heat
  • access to electricity and water
  • Clean, sanitary, and secure surroundings

The rented home must additionally be free of risks to one’s health. And finally, it needs to be adequately safeguarded against criminal intrusion.

The requirements for items like electrical wiring, the distance between porch railings, ventilation, and lighting, as well as the kinds of locks and keys needed for the property, carbon monoxide, and smoke detectors, are also governed by municipal building codes or housing regulations. For any infractions of fundamental landlord obligations, requirements and subsequent penalties are determined by local fire departments, health agencies, and housing authorities.

5. Lease Termination

Each state has very distinct laws governing how a landlord can end a tenancy. This varies depending on the cause of termination, which can include breaking a lease agreement or not making rent payments.

Unconditional Quit Notice: A few states permit landlords to evict renters without giving them a chance to make good on a lease violation. Legally, this is known as an unconditional quit notice.

For instance, landlords can give tenants an unconditional quit termination notice and specify how long they have to leave the premises before they file for eviction if tenants have frequently broken the terms of their lease, significantly damaged the rental property, or are discovered selling narcotics.

Depending on the offense, several sanctions may be applied to unconditional quit notices. Some states will immediately enforce the notice, while others won’t do so for three to five days. 

Below mentioned are a few examples of how unconditional quit notice is executed in different states:

  • Illinois: A landlord may give a tenant an unconditional quit notice in Illinois and only allow them five days to vacate the premises.
  • Arizona: In Arizona, if a tenant lied about having been evicted in the past, having a criminal record, or engaging in criminal conduct currently, the landlord may request that they vacate the premises within 10 days. The tenant may be ordered to vacate the property immediately if they engage in prostitution, homicide, selling illegal drugs, or violent street gang activity.
  • District of Columbia: Only in cases where a judge finds that illegal activity was carried out in the rental property are landlords permitted to issue unconditional quit notices in the District of Columbia. An unconditional quit notice gives the tenant 30 days to vacate.
6. Eviction

A landlord may file for eviction after adhering to the state’s legislation for a termination due to a lease violation. The laws differ according to the state. For instance, In South Dakota, a landlord must provide the tenant three days’ notice to vacate the premises before bringing an eviction action. Landlords in California are permitted to issue a Three-Day Notice authorizing them to begin the eviction procedure. Here, you can find out more about state regulations and exemptions.

7. Discrimination

On the grounds of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender, a landlord is not allowed to discriminate against a tenant or potential renter. 

8. Other Duties: 
  • Abide with the lease’s terms, which include paying for certain utilities and giving the landlord functioning keys to the home.
  • If the landlord is ending the lease, give the tenant sufficient notice. 
  • Prior to renting the property, if required by the municipality, landlords should secure the necessary permissions and inspection certificates. The landlord is prohibited by local law from requiring the renter to pay for or get the certificate.
  • Do not disrupt or interfere with utilities like gas, electricity, or water. 
  • The landlord should give his or her business address to tenants.
  • If the ownership of the property is transferred, give you notice of the change.

Tenant’s Rights in Missouri

1. Livable Property

Tenant rights in Missouri are governed by the rights of renters. A livable property is a right of tenants. This is known as an “implied warranty of habitability” in legalese. State statutes, as well as local regulations and any relevant local court rulings, serve as the legal foundation for an implied warranty or lawful standard of habitability.

As a renter, you have the right to inhabit a space that is fit for habitation. You have the right to contact your landlord without fear of consequences and request that they solve the issues if they aren’t fixed or if there is any damage while you are a tenant. In particular, landlords are obligated to address plumbing, safety, mold, and heating issues as soon as they arise.

2. Discrimination

A landlord is prohibited from treating a tenant or potential renter unfairly because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender. You can report suspected illegal discrimination to the relevant state agency or launch a lawsuit if you think it is happening to you.

3. Privacy

Before a landlord visits the property or sends someone to the property for repairs, the tenant has the right to adequate notice. The renter has the sole authority to use and manage the property. Tenants have the right to grant access to visitors on their property.

4. Returning a Security Deposit

The amount of time a landlord has to restore a tenant’s security deposit after they quit the property varies from state to state. It may take up to 60 days in some places, such as Alabama. Others only have to wait 14 days. Depending on the situation, different requirements apply to numerous states.

The following states mandate that security deposits be returned by landlords within 14 days:

  • Alaska: Provided the tenant has adequately informed the landlord of their impending departure. The landlord is entitled to take up to 30 days to restore the deposit if they did not give sufficient notice or if they did not maintain the property.
  • Arizona: In this state, a tenant has the right to attend the landlord’s final inspection.
  • South Dakota: The landlord must also explain to the renter why they withheld any money from the security deposit. The landlord has 45 days to provide the tenant with a written, itemized explanation of why they are keeping some or all of the security deposit.
  • Vermont: If the property is a summer rental and not the landlord’s primary residence, the time limit is increased to 60 days.

The security deposit must be returned to the renter in the following states within 30 days:

  • Colorado: unless the lease agreement provides a longer period of time, or 72 hours if a dangerous situation necessitated the tenant’s eviction from the property.
  • Connecticut: If a forwarding address is given to the landlord by the renter, the deposit must be refunded within 15 days, or within 30 days, whichever comes first.
  • Kentucky: This may take up to 60 days if there are disagreements about the deductions.
  • Maine: The landlord has thirty days to repay the security deposit if it is specified in the rental agreement. But if nothing is stated in the contract, the landlord has 21 days to restore the security deposit.
  • Montana: The landlord must repay the tenant’s security deposit within 10 days, albeit, assuming there are no deductions from it.
  • North Jersey: The landlord is required to reimburse the security deposit within five days if the renter has left the property because of an evacuation, fire, flood, or condemnation.
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
5. Other Rights

A renter also has the right to prompt property upkeep and repairs. According to state law, tenants have the following rights: written notice of any rent increases; privacy from the landlord; and appropriate notice of lease modifications or termination. 

Tenant’s Responsibilities in Missouri

  • Rent must be paid on time.
  • To prevent bugs or rodents from drawing them inside, throw away waste and keep your house clean.
  • Keep your house in good condition and avoid doing deliberate damage to it.
  • Apply common sense when using plumbing, electricity, and appliances.
  • Adhere to the lease’s conditions.
  • Never annoy the other renters.
  • Follow municipal ordinances. If the municipality demands that an occupant (you) get an occupation permit, do so.
  • As long as the landlord provides you with adequate warning, you should permit access for repairs and for other genuine reasons.
  • Make sure all regulations are followed by visitors to your home.
  • Do not permit those who are not mentioned on your lease to reside with you if your lease has restrictions on who may do so.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord-tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.

Additional Missouri rental resources and a Landlord Forum for legal questions answered by our community of attorneys, landlords, and property managers are available as well.

Visit ezLandlordForms.com to learn everything you need to know about Florida Residential Landlord-Tenant Law and Colorado Landlord-Tenant Law. These articles contain detailed information about these laws. Feel free to check Landlord and Real Estate News here!

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