Stephen A. Martin, Attorney at Law
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Missouri Supreme Court sides with landlord in rent dispute

The relationship between a landlord and a tenant in Saint Charles can be a delicate one. When everything is fine with the property that the two sides share an interest in, then the relationship may remain fine, too. Yet as soon as property arise, that association can be tested. The expectation of tenants may be that when there are issues with a property, the landlord should address them immediately. While that may seem reasonable, problems with a rental unit may not be sufficient cause for a tenant to stop paying rent. If and when a tenant does, then the landlord may just as easily justify its inaction. 

Often, the inevitable destination of such disputes is court. Yet even a court ruling may not provide a final say in the matter, as evidenced in a recent case involving a disgruntled tenant in Jefferson City. She claims to have been awoken in the early morning hours to the sound of the ceiling in her bathroom falling into her tub. This may not have surprised her, however, given that mold and water damage had been accumulating in the ceiling due to a leak in the rental unit above hers. She ended up spending several nights in a hotel and refusing to pay rent until the landlord fixed the problem. Lawsuits between both sides soon followed. The St. Louis County Circuit ruled that the woman was wrong in withholding the rent; the state's Supreme Court ultimately agreed with that decision.  

This case may serve to illustrate the need for good communication between landlords and tenants when dealing with property issues, as well as the importance of seeking sound advice before taking action regarding a rental agreement. Those in situations similar to this might find an attorney to be an excellent source of such advice. 

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