Stephen A. Martin, Attorney at Law
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When can I evict a tenant?

If you’re a landlord, you know that some tenants can be extremely troublesome. You may want them gone so bad you’d be willing to change the locks while they’re out. Unfortunately, that would be illegal. Landlords must have a reason to begin eviction proceedings against their tenants.

Missouri has many laws which protect the rights of both tenants and landlords, which may make it more complicated to act against a tenant. But, the laws also protect you and your property as well.

Reasons to evict a tenant

Certain actions by a tenant can provide reasonable cause to begin the eviction process. They include the following:

  • Excessive damage: The tenant causes damage to property beyond the normal wear and tear of normal use. This could be damage to a house or the land around it—cutting down trees, for example.
  • Failure to vacate: The tenant has failed to leave, even though the terms of their lease have expired. They are still residing on your property.
  • Unknown residents: The tenant has invited someone not listed on their lease to live at the property.
  • Unpaid rent: Money owed to you has not been paid. Landlords must give several days after the due date for tenants to pay, but after that it could be grounds to evict.

In some cases, immediate eviction orders can be sought. These include more extreme cases, such as:

  • Failing to remove tenant would risk the injury of someone.
  • Not removing the tenant would risk massive property damage.
  • Drug-related activity is being conducted on the property.
  • Tenant invites someone to the property who has been explicitly forbidden.

Starting the eviction process

If your tenant has given you a reason to start the eviction process, the first step would be to serve the tenant an eviction notice. You will need to do this in person or by certified mail to confirm that they receive it.

Ensure that you follow the laws set in place to make the process as smooth as possible for both you and your tenant.

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