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A rundown of landlord-tenant laws in Missouri

It’s a fact that landlords and tenants have disputes, some minor, but others can get messy – others can lead to court. These disputes can be mitigated if the Missouri tenants and landlords were to understand the basics of Missouri rental laws.

In Missouri, you can file in small claims court for a maximum of $5,000. Some issues that may lead to small claims court are: breach of contract, property damage, claiming rent or a security deposit you’re owed or limited personal injury claims. Small claims court is often quick and inexpensive, thus a good route for a minor dispute.

Security Deposits

Landlords in Missouri can charge up to two months’ rent as a security deposit and do not need to provide the tenant written notice after receiving their security deposit. Under Missouri rental law, a walk-through inspection is required after the renter moves out. If there are no deductions needed, renters can expect to have their security deposit returned within a maximum of 30 days.

Fair Housing

Landlords in Missouri cannot deny housing to anybody due to the following characteristics: race, national origin, color, sex, familial status, mental health or disability.

Right to entry and privacy

Landlords do not have to give notice to a tenant prior to entering their residence, but the time when the landlord enters must be reasonable. Some of the reasons why a landlord may enter the tenant’s residence are to repair something that broke, an inspection, to show the property to interested renters, under court order or to issue an eviction notice.

Eviction Laws

Landlords in Missouri can evict tenants for the following reasons:

  • Not paying rent
  • Severe property damage
  • A holdover tenant (a tenant who doesn’t move out at the end of the agreed lease term)
  • Violating lease terms
  • Conducting criminal activity inside the residence

Before a landlord files an eviction, they must serve the resident a “Pay or Quit” notice. This is a notice that supplies the renter the choice to either pay their rent or leave within a designated number of days.

Lease laws

Written lease agreements are only necessary if the lease is for 12 months or longer. Leases in Missouri should include the following: the lease terms, the amount of the security deposit and how it’ll be returned, rent amount/due date and accompanying grace period, the address of the property and the landlord’s name, phone number and address.

Under Missouri law, tenants also have the right to withhold rent or “repair and deduct.” If the rental property isn’t livable, the renter can withhold rent until the landlord fixes the issue or hire a professional to do the repairs and deduct that cost from their rent payment. If you have specific questions regarding Missouri landlord-tenant laws, please consult an attorney.

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