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What are my responsibilities as a landlord?

Owning a rental property can be a fantastic way to generate extra income and diversify your financial portfolio. After investing in a property and finding good tenants, being a landlord can be an easy and enjoyable experience.

But with the benefits of becoming a landlord, there are responsibilities – someone else’s shelter is in your hands. Here are some things to know before investing in a rental property.

The lease

It is important to have a thorough lease drawn up before renting any property. This protects both the landlord and the tenant.

A basic lease in the state of Missouri should include the following:

  • Monthly rent amount, when it’s due and any grace period or penalties for late rent
  • Address of the rental property and the landlord’s address, name and contact information
  • Security deposit amount and how it’s returned
  • Length of rental contract
  • Who pays the various utilities
  • Who is responsible for things like repairs, lawn care and snow removal

A lease can be terminated by the landlord and a tenant can be evicted during the lease for several different reasons. These include missed rent, property damage or violating another condition of the lease.

Responsibilities and rights

Landlords of rental properties have certain rights and responsibilities encoded in Missouri law. These laws protect both the lessor and the lessee in case the relationship breaks down.

   Responsibilities

  • It is illegal for a landlord to shut off the utilities to a rental property unless it is for health or safety reasons.
  • If, within 14 days’ notice, a landlord does not make repairs to any issues that violate housing codes, the tenant may deduct half a month’s rent or $300 – whichever is greater.
  • A landlord may not charge more than two-months’ rent for a security deposit.

   Rights

  • Landlords have the right to quickly obtain a court order to remove tenants for drug-related or violent criminal activity, even without an arrest or conviction.
  • A landlord may double the rent if a tenant lets someone take over the property without the landlord’s permission.
  • A landlord can limit a property’s occupancy to two people per bedroom, except in the case of children born during the lease period.

Owning and renting property can be a fruitful endeavor and rewarding investment, but it is crucial to know what to expect before leasing a unit. By understanding these and other rights and responsibilities potential landlords can find it easier to plan ahead and prevent disputes.

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