To minimize the risk of encountering problems, one of the most important things to do as a landlord, commercial property manager, or tenant is to understand landlord-tenant laws in Missouri. Unlike some states, Missouri does not have a comprehensive act or a set of established rules outlining how landlords and tenants can interact with each other legally.
However, there are several statutes in the Missouri state laws related to issues between landlords and tenants, most of which are mentioned in three chapters in the Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo).
Chapter 441 (“Landlord and Tenant”) includes a number of key details on the landlord and tenant relationship, such as:
- Provisions on leases and terms
- Demanding twice the amount of rent after a tenant’s contract expires
- Expedited evictions
- Abandoned personal property
- Tenant’s right to conduct repairs and deduct the costs from the rent
- Inadequate/deficient housing
Chapter 534 includes a particular section titled “Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer,” which allows a tenant to pursue legal action against a landlord for wrongful eviction, and a landlord to take legal action against tenants for breach of contract or unlawful detainer.
Lastly, chapter 535 “Landlord-Tenant Actions” details several provisions concerning:
- Procedures for rent and possession
- Required disclosures for landlords to tenants
- Security deposits
A security deposit is often charged by landlords in order to protect their interest in the property. In the state of Missouri, a security deposit cannot exceed the cost of two months’ worth of rent.
Landlords are required to have a separate bank account for security deposits, as amounts that are paid as security deposits should not merge with unrelated funds. However, security deposits paid by a tenant should be held in the landlord’s trust and deposited under the trustee’s name in a financial institution such as a bank or credit union.
In situations wherein a tenant receives part of the security deposit back, it should be returned within 30 days before the lease’s termination date.
Accepted uses of a Security Deposit
There are several reasons that allow a landlord to use the security deposit:
- It may be used as compensation for any damages sustained due to a tenant ending the lease agreement without providing sufficient notice. Should the deposit be used for this reason, the landlord must make reasonable efforts to lessen the damage
- As payment for rent that is due
Landlords need to file a written description which includes an itemized list of the damages and details on how the deposit was spent. In case a landlord fails to comply with these laws by unlawfully withholding funds from a tenant, the tenant can decide to take legal action and recover up to twice the amount wrongfully withheld by the landlord.
If you need more information on the landlord-tenant law in Missouri or are searching for commercial properties, get in touch with us at Cardinal Realty Group today by calling 1.636.225.0385 or send an email to Hal(at)CardinalRealtyGroup(dotted)com