Stephen A. Martin, Attorney at Law
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Are leases required to be in writing?

If you are the owner of a property in Missouri that you intend to rent out to someone else, you will want to understand how you can protect yourself and your property. One of the things you may likely do is to set up a lease agreement with your tenant.

If you are fortunate enough to find someone you know and trust to rent your home to, you might be tempted to work with them based upon an oral agreement only. However, the Missouri Attorney General recommends that a written lease agreement be created instead of just an oral agreement. It is legal to have an oral lease agreement but the terms of that agreement will only be legally binding for one full rental month.

The more details you document in your lease, the more security you will have in knowing that your asset can be protected. If you feel the need to evict a tenant, you will require an order from the court. There are only certain things that support an eviction and breaking the terms of the lease is one of those things. If your lease is not in writing, it may be difficult for you to prove that a tenant violated the agreement. Another benefit of a written document is the avoidance of a misunderstanding between the parties.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to help landlords in Missouri understand the types of things they should include in their written lease agreements.

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