Missouri Landlord Tenant Law

Looking for clear and concise information on Missouri landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to Missouri landlord tenant statutes.

MO Landlord Tenant Law:

  • Missouri Statutes Title XXIX, Chapter 441 - Landlord and Tenant

This act also covers properties used for commercial, industrial or storage purposes. [MO 441.005]

Tenant Application

Application Fees

The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging $25 to $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.

Background and Credit Check

Before running background or credit checks on tenant applicants, landlords must first obtain the applicant's written permission. [Fair Credit Reporting Act Sec.604(a)(3)(F)]

For landlords to run background and credit checks, the tenant application form needs to ask for the applicant's:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • social security number or ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number)
  • current address
  • signed consent (e.g. "I authorize the use of the information and contacts provided to complete a credit, reference, and/or background check.")

Avoiding Discrimination

The federal Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from rejecting prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, nationality, sex, *familial status or physical/mental disability. *Familial status means landlords cannot reject someone for having one or more children under 18. Familial status also includes pregnant women and people planning to have (or adapt) children under 18.

In addition, Missouri landlord tenant law disallows landlords from rejecting someone as a renter because of his or her ancestry.

Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement (also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement) can be written or verbal.

A verbal lease is valid for up to one month in Missouri. The landlord can raise rent or evict the tenant by giving him or her one month's notice. The tenant can also terminate a verbal lease by informing the landlord one month in advance. [Handbook]

The landlord and tenant can choose between a month to month tenancy or fixed term lease. For a month to month tenancy, the landlord or tenant can change its terms and conditions at the end of every month. For a fixed term lease, the landlord and tenant CANNOT change the lease terms and conditions during its duration... unless there is written consent from both parties.

Required for Tenancy Agreement

Missouri landlord tenant law requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:

  • Name and address of person authorized to manage the property [MO 535.185.(1)]
  • Name and address or property owner or owner's agent (person authorized to act on behalf of owner) [MO 535.185.(2)]
  • Disclosure of methamphetamine production on the property (if any) and whether the people involved in the production were convicted [MO 441.236]
  • Disclosure and information of lead-based paint in the property (for housing built before 1978)

Recommended for Tenancy Agreement

  • Name and address of tenant(s)
  • Number of people (occupants) staying on the property
  • Type of tenancy: month to month tenancy or fixed term lease
  • How much is the rent
  • When, how and where the rent is to be paid
  • When is rent is considered late and the penalties for late rent payment
  • How much is the security deposit and pet deposit (if any)
  • Who holds the deposit(s) and where will it be held
  • What utilities and services are provided and who pays for them
  • What are the landlord's and tenant's duties for property maintenance
  • Can the tenant sublet the property or assign the lease
  • When to inform the landlord if tenant will be away for a long time
  • Prohibited activities and items

Disallowed for Tenancy Agreement

According to Missouri landlord tenant law, your lease agreement CANNOT:

  • allow the landlord to rent out each bedroom to more than two people (except for children born during the lease period) [Handbook]

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Security Deposit

According to Missouri landlord tenant law, he landlord can ask for up to two month's rent as security deposit. [MO 535.300.(1)]

Holding Security Deposit

Missouri landlord tenant law requires the landlord to hold the security deposit in a trust account of a bank, credit union or depository institution (insured by a federal government agency). The landlord cannot combine security deposits with other funds.

Any interest earned by the security deposit belongs to the landlord. [MO 535.300.(2)]

There are no Missouri landlord tenant statutes on pet deposits or non-refundable fees.

Deductions and Returns

Missouri landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions.
  
Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under Missouri landlord tenant law) include:

  • Rent owed
  • Property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Costs and losses incurred by landlord due to the tenant failing to give adequate notice when terminating the lease

The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. [MO 535.300.(4)(2)] *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.

Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a list of security deposit deductions and refund any remaining deposit within 30 days. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing. [MO 545.300.(3)]
   
The landlord shall inform the tenant of his or her right to be present at the move-out inspection, and the date and time of the inspection, to determine the amount of security deposit to be withheld. [MO 545.300.(5)]
   
If the landlord fails to follow Missouri landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the tenant can recover up to two times the amount of security deposit. [MO 545.300.(6)]

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Kansas City, Missouri MO

Missouri Landlord Tenant Law

Rent

The tenant has to pay the rent without demand or reminders. As long as the landlord and tenant are agreeable, they can choose the time, place and method of rent payment.

The landlord and tenant have to agree on the terms and conditions for rent payment in writing before the tenancy begins.
   
By default, rent is payable once the tenancy begins and shall be paid on the same day of every month. Rent is to be collected at the rental property.

Late Rent

There are no Missouri landlord tenant statutes on imposing charges for late rent payments.

Raising Rent

There are no specific Missouri landlord tenant statutes on raising rent.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When can the landlord raise the rent?
  • How many days notice does the landlord have to give before raising the rent?
  • How many days notice does the tenant have to give if he or she is moving out due to the rent increase?
  • Maximum amount or percentage of rent increase (optional)

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Property Maintenance

Landlord Duties and Responsibilities

The Missouri Landlord Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition [Handbook]:

  • Delivery: Deliver the property to the tenant on time and in good condition
  • Repairs: Make all repairs to keep the property safe and habitable
  • Utilities: Avoid turning off electricity, water or gas to the property
  • Change of Ownership: Inform the tenant in writing if the property is sold to a new landlord

Tenant Duties and Responsibilities

Missouri landlord tenant law also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition [Handbook]:

  • Waste Disposal: Dispose all waste from the property in a clean and safe manner
  • Proper Usage: Use all facilities and appliances properly. This includes all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen and common area facilities (e.g. elevators)
  • Property Damage: Avoid property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by the tenant, occupants or tenant's guests

If Landlord Fails to Maintain Property

If the landlord fails to maintain the property, the tenant can make repairs and deduct the cost from rent if ALL of the following conditions are met [Handbook]:

  • Rental property's condition or problem violates city code
  • Tenant has informed the landlord of the problem in writing and that he or she intends to fix it at the landlord's expense
  • After being informed by the tenant in writing, the landlord did not fix the problem within 14 days
  • Tenant has lived on the property for at least six (continuous) months
  • Tenant has paid all rents due
  • Tenant is not violating the lease agreement

The repairs cost should be less than half month's rent and the tenant has to keep all repair bills and receipts.

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Property Access

There are no Missouri landlord tenant statutes on when and how the landlord can enter the property.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When does the landlord require the tenant's permission to enter the property?
    Examples: Making repairs, supplying essential services, inspecting for damages, showing property to prospective buyers or tenants
  • How long in advance should the landlord inform the tenant before entering the property?
  • When is the landlord allowed to enter the property without the tenant's permission?
    Examples: Handling emergencies (such as smoke, fire, flooding or explosion), tenant has abandoned the property
  • What are the penalties if the tenant refuses the landlord's valid request to enter the property?
  • What are the penalties if the landlord enters the property without the tenant's permission or without a valid reason?

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Subletting

Missouri landlord tenant law disallows subletting unless the landlord agrees to it in writing.     [MO 441.030]

The landlord is allowed to double the rent amount if the tenant transfers the lease to another person without the landlord's permission. [Handbook]

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Saint Louis, Missouri MO

Termination of Tenancy

Number of Days for Notice to Quit

Missouri landlord tenant law requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit before terminating a tenancy. How long in advance you have to give this notice depends on the type of tenancy [MO 441.060] [MO 441.050]:

Tenancy at will

1 month

Tenancy at sufferance

1 month

Tenancy of less than one year

1 month

Month to month tenancy

 1 month

Year to year tenancy

60 days

TENANT

If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:

Tenant is deployed in the armed forces

15 days

Property damage due to fire, disaster or unavoidable accident

Tenant is Deployed in the Armed Forces

Missouri tenant law allows a member of the armed forces to terminate the tenancy agreement if ONE of the following conditions is met [Handbook]:

  • Service member received orders for a permanent change of station
  • Service member received orders for a temporary change of station that is 25 miles or more from the rental unit for more than three months
  • Service member is discharged or released from active duty
  • Service member received orders requiring him or her to move into government quarters

In this case, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement by giving the landlord with a written 15 days notice to quit. The landlord shall return the security deposit (after any deductions) to the tenant.

Property Damage Due to Fire, Disaster or Unavoidable Accident

If the property is badly damaged by fire, disasters or unavoidable accidents, the tenant shall not have to pay rent for the remainder of the lease (as long as he or she isn't responsible for the damage)

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Eviction

According to Missouri landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:

Tenant did not pay rent

Immediate

Tenant violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties

10 days

Tenant allowed illegal activities on property

10 days

Tenant sublet or assigned property without landlord's permission

10 days

Tenant Did Not Pay Rent

If the tenant did not pay rent on time, landlord can send the tenant a written notice to terminate the tenancy immediately. [MO 535.010]

Tenant Violated Tenancy Agreement or Didn't Perform Duties

If the tenant violates the lease agreement, the landlord can send the tenant a written ten day notice to vacate the premises. This notice has to state that the tenant has ten days to move out or the landlord shall file an eviction lawsuit with the court.

The landlord doesn't have to give the tenant a chance to fix the violation(s) so that he or she can continue staying on the property.

Tenant Allowed Illegal Activities on Property

After proving that the tenant allowed illegal activity on the property, the landlord can evict the tenant by sending the tenant a written 10 day notice to vacate premises.

Examples of illegal activities include prostitution, illegal gambling and illegal production or sale of controlled substances. [MO 441.020]

After 10 days, the landlord may enter the property and take possession of it. [MO 441.040]

Tenant Sublet or Assigned Property Without Landlord's Consent

According to the Missouri Landlord Tenant Act, the tenant will need the landlord's written permission to sublet or assign the property UNLESS the lease term is longer than two years. If the tenant fails to follow Missouri landlord tenant law for subletting or assignment, the landlord can evict the tenant by sending the tenant a written 10 day notice to vacate premises. [MO 441.030]

After 10 days, the landlord may enter the property and take possession of it. [MO 441.040]

Immediate Eviction

The court can order an immediate eviction of a tenant in the following situations [MO 441.740]:

  • Tenant has or will injure the landlord or other tenants
  • Tenant has or will cause property damages costing more than 12 month's rent
  • Drug-related crime has taken place on the property
  • Tenant, tenant's household or tenant's guest was involved in drug-related crime on the property or its surroundings
  • Tenant knowingly allowed someone who is barred from the property to enter or stay on the property

Unlawful Eviction

According to Missouri landlord tenant law, the landlord CANNOT force the tenant to move out by shutting off utilities (electricity, water, gas, sanitation), changing the locks, taking the tenant's belongings or taking possession of the property by force without a court hearing. [MO 441.233]

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Abandonment

When is it Abandonment?

According to Missouri landlord tenant law, the tenant has abandoned the property when ALL of the following conditions are met [MO 441.065]:

  • Tenant is late in paying rent for at least 30 days
  • Tenant appears to have vacated the property and does not intend to return
  • Landlord posted a written *notice (stating that he or she believes that the tenant has abandoned the property) on the premises AND sent this notice to the tenant's last known address by both first class mail and certified mail
  • Tenant did not pay rent or respond (in writing) to the landlord's notice within 10 days of the landlord posting and mailing it

*This written notice should contain the following:

"The rent on this property has been due and unpaid for thirty consecutive days and the landlord believes that you have moved out and abandoned the property. The landlord may declare this property abandoned and remove your possessions from this unit and dispose of them unless you write to the landlord stating that you have not abandoned this unit within ten days of the landlord having both posted this notice on your door and mailing this notice to you. You should mail your statement by regular first class mail and, if you so choose, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to this address . . . . . . . . . . . (here insert landlord's name and street address)"

Dealing with Abandoned Belongings

Missouri landlord tenant law allows the landlord can remove or dispose any belongings that the tenant has abandoned. [MO 441.065]

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Resources

Missouri Landlord Tenant Law: Missouri Landlord and Tenant Act

Missouri Landlord Tenant Handbook: The Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants

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