Are you a landlord in Missouri who wants to know more about the laws and in particular the Missouri landlord tenant law?
Landlord tenant laws answer questions you may have like “Can a landlord enter without permission in Missouri?” and are essential for performing sensitive tasks like evictions correctly.
To protect the rights, interests, and property of both landlords and tenants, Missouri landlord tenant law regulates their legal relationship. These laws help outline the duties of both sides in the rental contract.
Missouri landlords must be aware that it’s essential to make sense of the laws in Missouri, as they come into effect when your tenant signs the rental agreement. Whenever a landlord faces a dispute with your prospective tenants or prospective renters, the landlord tenant law will provide an easy reference for solving the issue without the need for an attourney in many cases.
In the following paragraphs, we are going to look at the most important regulations regarding the landlord tenant relationship under landlord-tenant law in Missouri.
Missouri Security Deposit Law
Security deposits in Missouri consist of any monetary amount that is paid to the landlord by a tenant to ensure the performance of any given part of the rent agreement. However, this doesn’t include charges for pets.
As a property owner, you can only charge your Missouri tenants a security deposit amount equal to up two the rent paid over two months. Exceeding that amount is illegal according to landlord tenant laws. Landlords must hold that security deposit in a federally insured financial institution.
Some states and localities require landlords to place your tenant’s security deposit in an interest-bearing account. This is not the case in Missouri. In fact, according to security deposit law, if landlords earn interest on the amount, the resulting money is their personal property.
Tenants are unable to use their security deposits to cover their previous due rent. In case of no deductions, landlords must return security deposits within a 30-day period after the termination of the tenancy. If a landlord fails to do so, then they may face legal action.
Whenever a landlord makes a deduction from the deposit, it’s necessary to provide tenants with an itemized list of damages. Each of these damages must be accompanied by the exact charged amount in a formal written notice.
No general deduction is allowed. A landlord needs to be specific about the deductions of their tenants' security deposits, and the reductions have to be reflected in the MO Rev Stat § 535.300 (4) and are lease violations.
The major reasons for security deposit deductions are as follows:
- Your tenant has avoided paying rent, be it one week or one month's rent
- Your tenant has created damages due to early termination of their tenancy
- Your tenant has damaged the rental property in a way that isn’t regarded as ordinary wear and tear
- Your tenant has breached the any of the rental agreements clauses
- Your tenant abandons the property in poor condition
Landlord Access in Missouri
When it comes to state laws on landlord’s access to the rental property, there aren’t specific notification principles under Missouri state law. Unless the landlord entry can be deemed malicious or harassing in court, a landlord won’t have to serve tenants with prior written notice.
However, if a landlord has a clause about providing verbal or written notice included in the rental agreement, landlord tenant law still requires it is part the landlord responsibilities to adhere to it.
Small Claims Court
If for any reason there is a monetary dispute between landlords and tenants, you can take one another to small claims court in Missouri. However, the law states that the amount you're suing for can't exceed $5,000.
Rent Payments in Missouri
You can raise the rent on your property after the rental agreement period has ended. The exception covers “at-will” tenants if you provide reasonable advance notice. If you have a month-to-month lease agreement, Missouri tenant laws dictate that you must provide written notice of thirty days' notice before the next rent payment’s due date.
You also have disclosed the rules regarding late fees in your lease agreement. There is no state legislation on late fees. Missouri lease laws also do not regulate the frequency or amount of rent increases.
Keep in mind that in Missouri, tenants have the right to withhold rent and "repair and deduct" if you as the landlord fail to conduct necessary maintenance and repairs.
Fair Housing Principles in Missouri
Since the Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a federal statute, compliance is mandatory in the state of Missouri as well. Housing rights were put in place to prevent discriminatory treatment in the real estate market.
The Fair Housing Act lists protected classes that have in the past faced housing discrimination in the U.S. These classes are protected against discrimination based on age, sex, and religion. In this context, discrimination means that a person from one of the protected classes receives different treatment from other tenants.
Let’s look at a few practical examples of discriminatory behavior: Providing false information about the availability of rental unit is a discriminatory practice. Quoting a different price and making individual changes to the lease or rental agreement are discriminatory actions as well.
Missouri Lease Termination Laws
There are justifiable reasons for legally breaking the lease early without lease violation in Missouri. These reasons are as follows:
- Active Military Duty
- Uninhabitable Property
- Harassment by the Landlord
- Early Termination Clause
- Serious Privacy Violations by the Landlord
When you have a fixed end date lease, Missouri tenants’ rights dictate that your tenant doesn’t have to provide verbal or written notice. As the last day of the lease arrives, the lease automatically expires. If your tenants want to terminate a month-to-month lease, Missouri landlord tenant law states that they must provide written notice one month before the next rent due date.
However, if you have a yearly lease with no end date, the tenant must provide written notice 60 days before the year ends.
Landlords need to take steps to occupy their units after a tenant breaks the lease. The duty to mitigate damages applies to all the landlords in Missouri. As a rental owner, you must take reasonable steps to occupy your property instead of charging the total rent due straight away.
Eviction in Missouri
There are three main reasons that give you legal ground to pursue an eviction in Missouri as a landlord.
- Lease Term Violations: Whenever your tenant commits a lease infraction, you can issue a 10-Day Notice to Cure or Quit. In case of further tenant non-compliance, you can pursue eviction.
- Nonpayment of Rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent often, that means that you can proceed with an immediate eviction. Just consider the grace period if you have one in place, which allows the tenant to pay rent a few days late.
- Illegal Behavior: Assault, prostitution, possession and/or sale of drugs, or illegal gambling on the premises means that you can file a 10-Day Notice to Quit. If that doesn’t have results, you are able to file for an Unlawful Detainer as the next step.
You cannot proceed with an eviction using illegal means, however. This would invalidate any claim you would make. You should also make sure to keep important documents on hand to use as evidence during any potential conflicts or legal disputes.
The Bottom Line
Making sense of the Missouri landlord tenant law is essential if you own at least one property. Learning about landlord tenant rights and responsibilities allows you to make the right choices and settle legal disputes correctly.
If you have further questions about Missouri landlord tenant law, contact Pro X Property Management today!
Disclaimer: This article is not meant to serve as a substitute for professional legal advice. If you need legal assistance, contact a professional rental management company or a lawyer.