Missouri Rental Laws

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This article summarizes some key Missouri landlord-tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the state bar association. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No more than two months’ rent (§§ 535.300(1))
  • Security Deposit Interest: Any interest earned on a security deposit shall be the property of the landlord (§§ 535.300(2))
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: A landlord shall not commingle such security deposits with other funds of the landlord except as provided in section 339.105. All security deposits shall be held in a trust established by the landlord and deposited in a bank, credit union, or depository institution account in the name of the trustee. (§§ 535.300(2))
  • Pet Deposits: No statute
  • Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days after lease termination (§§ 535.300(2))
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit:
    • For payment of rent due to the landlord;
    • To restore the unit to its condition at the start of the tenancy, except for ordinary wear and tear;
    • To compensate the landlord for actual damages resulting from tenant’s failure to give adequate notice to terminate the tenancy, provided that the landlord makes reasonable efforts to mitigate damages. (§§ 535.300(3))
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (§§ 535.300(2)(2))
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute
  • Receipt of Deposit: No statute
  • Failure to Comply: If landlord wrongfully withholds the security deposit, the tenant can recover as damages up to twice the amount wrongfully withheld. (§§ 535.300(5))

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: As stated in the lease
  • Rent Increase Notice: No statute
  • Rent Grace Period: No statute, but may be defined in the lease.
  • Late Fees: No statute, but may be defined in the lease.
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute
  • Returned Check Fees: $25, plus the amount of the fee charged by the bank for each returned check (§§ 570.120(6)(2))
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): No, however in the event that a heat-related utility service notifies tenants in a master-metered, multi-tenant building of an impending termination of service for nonpayment, tenants may prevent termination of service by promptly petitioning the associate division of the circuit court of the county for the property to be put into receivership. See statute for further details. (§§ 441.650)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes, with restrictions (§§ 441.234):
    • Only applicable to a tenant who has lawfully resided on the rental premises for six consecutive months, has paid all rent and charges due the landlord during that time;
    • The issue detrimentally affects habitability or is a code violation;
    • After 14-days, written notice to landlord, for repairs of less than $300, or one-half of the periodic rent, whichever is greater; and
    • Tenant may not deduct in the aggregate more than the amount of one month’s rent during any twelve-month period;
    • Other notifications, requirements, and provision apply. (§§ 441.234)
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: No statute
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: Yes (§§ 535.300(3)(3))
  • Early Termination Fee: No statute
  • Abandonment and Personal Property: Landlord may discard the tenant’s personal property if tenant doesn’t respond to a formal written notice after 10 days, among other criteria. See statute §§ 441.065 for details.

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No notice is required as the lease simply ends. (§§ 441.070)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Yearly Lease with No End Date: 60-day written notice prior to the end of the year (§§ 441.050)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: One-month written notice prior to a periodic rent-paying date (§§ 441.060(4))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: No statute
  • Termination of Tenancy with 24 Hours Notice: No statute
  • Immediate Eviction by Court Order: Expedited eviction of a tenant may be ordered by the court in cases in which:
    • an emergency situation imminently threatens either the safety of other tenants or threatens to cause damage that would exceed the rent for one year;
    • the leased property was used to assist or promote any drug-related criminal activity;
    • tenant or member of tenant’s household or guest has engaged in drug-related criminal activity either in or near the leased property;
    • tenant has given permission to or invited a person to enter onto or remain on any portion of the leased property, and the tenant did so knowing that the person had been removed or barred from the leased property. See statute for more details. (§§ 441.740)
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: Landlord must give tenant reasonable notice in writing of the date and time the landlord has chosen for the move-out inspection. The inspection must be at a reasonable time and the tenant has the right to be present. (§§ 535.300(4))
  • Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: If rent is unpaid when due, landlord may provide an immediate unconditional quit notice. (§§ 535.010)
  • Termination for Lease Violation: 10-day notice. In addition to lease violations, a 10-day notice is required if tenant has sublet the unit without the landlord’s written permission or permitted the premises to be used for prohibited gambling, prostitution or drug-related criminal activity. (§§ 441.020§§ 441.030 and §§ 441.040)
  • Required Notice before Entry: No statute
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): No statute
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: No statute
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No statute
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (§§ 441.233(1))
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (§§ 441.233(2))

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: Landlord must provide tenant in writing before the start of tenancy the name and address of the property manager as well as that of a property owner for the purpose of service of process and receipt of notices and demands. (§§ 535.185)
  • Copy of the Lease: No statute
  • Domestic Violence Situations: No statute. An Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection (AARDVARC) provides a directory of Missouri Domestic Violence and Support Contacts by county.
  • Landlord’s Duties: (Missouri Attorney General’s Guide to Landlord-Tenant Law (Pg. 5))
    • Habitability: Make property habitable before tenants move in;
    • Repairs: Make and pay for repairs due to ordinary wear and tear.;
    • Utilities: Refrain from turning off a tenant’s water, electricity or gas;
    • Transfer of Ownership: Provide written notice to tenants when
      ownership of the property is transferred to a new landlord;
    • Discrimination: Not unlawfully discriminate.
  • Tenant’s Duties: (§§ 441.630)
    • Trash: Dispose of in a clean and sanitary manner all garbage and other organic waste in the unit which might provide food for rodents;
    • Electrical, Heating and Plumbing: Refrain from unreasonable use of electrical, heating, and plumbing fixtures;
    • Compliance: Meet all obligations lawfully imposed on tenants by the code enforcement agency or the community;
    • Damage: Refrain from willfully or wantonly destroying, defacing, damaging, impairing or removing any part of the structure, dwelling unit or facilities, and to prohibit any other person on the premises with his or her permission from doing likewise; and
    • Subleasing: Shall not under any circumstances take in additional occupants, sublease, rent or turn over said premises to any persons without the owner’s knowledge and consent.
  • Retaliation: No statute
  • Lead Disclosure:  Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.
  • Disclosure of Prior Methamphetamine Manufacture (Meth Lab): Landlord must disclose in writing to prospective tenants or buyers any knowledge of past methamphetamine production on the premises, regardless of whether those involved were convicted for such production. (§§ 441.236)

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License Required: No statewide statute, but some cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. For example, Independence requires a landlord business license. Check with your local governing authority.

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