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In a landlord-tenant relationship, each party is expected to fulfill their responsibilities to the lease agreement. When one party doesn't fulfill their responsibilities, the relationship can become complicated. Missouri's landlord-tenant laws govern many of the terms on a lease agreement, so when a landlord or tenant breaks the lease, they may end up facing a lawsuit.
Whether you're a landlord or a tenant, you should typically be able to deal with legal issues without going to court. Some landlord-tenant disputes will leave you with no other option. Both parties need to know the basics of renting out a place, how to collect or pay security deposits, about fair housing laws, etc. This overview of key Missouri landlord-tenant laws will help guide you.
Missouri prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants based on characteristics that are protected by the state's housing discrimination laws. Specific actions like charging a higher than average rental rate may be considered discriminatory if the landlord does these things because of a tenant's:
A common component to a lease agreement in Missouri is the security deposit. The deposit typically amounts to one month's rent with a legal maximum of two months' rent. However, the deposit isn't considered to be a tenant's first or last month's rent payment.
The deposit is held in a trust at a bank where any interest it earns is the landlord's to keep. At the end of the tenancy, the landlord may use the deposit to:
The landlord is required to return the remainder of the security deposit plus a written notice itemizing any charges made to it to the tenant within 30 days after the tenancy ends. If no deductions from the deposit are claimed, the landlord must return the full deposit amount.
The lease agreement is the foundation of the landlord-tenant relationship. It is a legally binding contract detailing the responsibilities both the landlord and the tenant promise to uphold. In addition to specifics like amenities, renovations and other apartment features, the lease includes legal details like:
When a tenant breaks their lease by violating its terms, they may be evicted by the landlord. A tenant may be evicted for:
If a landlord decides to evict a tenant, they must provide written notice to the tenant to vacate the property. The notice must be provided 10 days before the landlord files for an eviction lawsuit with the court. The landlord must have a cause to serve an early eviction notice, otherwise they must wait until the leasing term expires and the tenant moves.
While many landlord-tenant conflicts can be resolved without going to court, the laws involved in these conflicts are complex. The Missouri Attorney General published a landlord-tenant guide that contains more information about landlord and tenant laws. If you find you are in need of legal counsel or advice, you should consider hiring a landlord-tenant lawyer to represent your interests.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified landlord tenant lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local landlord tenant attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.