State Landlord-Tenant Laws For Missouri

Overview

DEPOSIT

  • The security deposit in Missouri should not exceed two month's rent.
  • The landlord is required to put the security deposit into a bank account or an escrow account..
  • Landlords must return the deposit within 30 days of the lease expiring.
  • Landlords must provide an itemized receipt of any deductions from the deposit.

RENT INCREASE LAWS

  • No rent control laws.
  • No required notice period for rent raises. But, most landlords give between 30-60 days notice.

NOTICES

  • There's no statute regarding notices before entry, but generally, landlords are required to give at least 24 hours notice before entering an occupied property.
  • When ending a lease either party can give  60 days notice for annual lease, or 30 days for month to month.

RE-KEYING LAWS

  • No statute.

RENTAL AGREEMENT

  • Both oral and written rental agreements are accepted in Missouri for leases less than 12 months.
  • All oral agreemnts are deemed month to month agreements.

LATE FEES & GRACE PERIODS

  • There is no maximum late fee amount, however, it is expected to be reasonable and must be included in the lease.
  • A late fee is deemed reasonable if it is $20 or 20% of teh monthly rent, whichever is higher.

SMOKING LAWS

  • No statute.

PET LAWS

  • Pet fees and deposits are allowed.

SECTION 1

1. Missouri Landlord-Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

Landlord-tenant relationships in Missouri are guided by the state's landlord-tenant laws. All provisions for Missouri’s landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities can be found in the 2023 Missouri Revised Statutes, Title 29, Chapter 441

Both landlords and tenants should acquaint themselves with these laws in order to know their rights and obligations as well as avoid legal issues down the line.

Below is an overview of the most common rights and duties of landlords and tenants in the state of Missouri. 

Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities

Rights

  • Tenants in Missouri are entitled to a livable apartment.
  • Tenants in Missouri are the only ones allowed to be in possession of and have authority over their property.
  • Tenants in Missouri are entitled to a fair amount of notice prior to the landlord entering the property to do repairs or inspections, unless an emergency arises.
  • Tenants in Missouri have the right to a property that is suitable for their intended purpose as a place to live, including for sleeping, cooking, eating, and living.
  • Tenants in Missouri are allowed to welcome visitors onto the rented property. 

Responsibilities

  • Missouri tenants are required to pay their rent on time.
  • Missouri tenants are required to remove trash from their homes and keep them clean to deter rodents and insects.
  • Missouri tenants are required to maintain their homes and are not allowed to intentionally do harm to them.
  • Missouri tenants are required to utilize the appliances, electricity, and plumbing in a fair manner.
  • If the lease is in writing, Missouri tenants are required to abide by its provisions.
  • Missouri tenants are required to be considerate to other tenants and not disturb them.
  • Missouri tenants are required to abide with municipal ordinances. 
  • If an occupancy permit is required by the municipality, tenants in Missouri are required to obtain one.
  • If the landlord gives reasonable notice, tenants in Missouri are required to permit the landlord access to the rental property so that repairs can be made.
  • Missouri tenants are required to ensure that their visitors adhere to all rules when they are in their home.
  • If the lease limits who can live with the tenant, Missouri tenants are obligated to not allow people to live with them who are not listed on the lease.
  • Missouri tenants are required to refuse to let anyone who isn't on the lease reside with them, if the agreement has any restrictions on who can live with them.

Landlord’s Rights and Responsibilities

Rights

  • Landlords in Missouri are entitled to receive notice when a tenant wants to leave their rental property after the lease expires.
  • Landlords in Missouri have the right to be served notice when a tenant is looking to be away for a prolonged period of time. 
  • Landlords in Missouri are allowed to enter rental properties to do certain tasks, such as inspecting the unit or performing requested or necessary repairs. 
  • Landlords in Missouri are allowed to modify the terms of the lease as long as they get the tenant's approval.

Responsibilities

  • Missouri landlords are required to ensure the property is habitable (safe and healthy to live in) before you move in, and then keep it that way while you live there.
  • Missouri landlords cannot disconnect utilities unless it is an emergency.
  • Missouri landlords must make any repairs required by the lease or by local, state, or federal law. 
  • Missouri landlords must adhere to the terms of the lease, which include paying certain utilities and giving you working keys to the property.
  • Missouri landlords must also give you enough notice if they are terminating the lease.
  • Missouri landlords must get the relevant permits and inspections before renting out the property, if requested by the municipality. The landlord is not allowed to make the tenant pay for or obtain the certificate per local ordinance. 
  • Missouri landlords are obligated to give a reasonable amount of notice to tenants before entering to make repairs. 
  • It is against the law for landlords in Missouri to tamper with or cut off utilities like gas, electricity, or water.
  • Landlords in Missouri are obligated to give tenants their business address. 
  • Landlords in Missouri are obligated to notify tenants in the event that they decide to sell the property. 
  • Unless there is an emergency, Missouri landlords are not permitted to enter a rented space without the tenant's consent or a reasonable amount of early notice.

Sources: Missouri's Landlord-Tenant Law - CoMo.gov, Missouri Landlord-Tenant Law booklet, 2023 Missouri Revised Statutes, Title 29, Chapter 441.

Required Notices Before Entry

Are landlords in Missouri required to give notice before entering the property?

While Missouri does not have any laws requiring landlords to provide notice to tenants before entering their property. However, most landlords provide a 24-hour notice period as a courtesy to respect the tenant's right to privacy.

Are landlords in Missouri allowed to enter the property to conduct maintenance and repairs? 

There’s no statute regarding landlords entering the property to complete repairs. As such, landlords are allowed to enter a rented property to perform repairs and maintain its habitability at the request of the tenant. 

Landlords should give adequate notice beforehand. Additionally, tenants are prohibited from restricting landlords access into the property to perform already agreed-upon repairs. 

Late Fees for Rent in Missouri

A late fee is a charge for not paying rent on time, distinct from interest or other reasonable expenses related to collecting unpaid rent or enforcing lien rights.

In Missouri, late fees must be explicitly stated in the rental agreement or an addendum to be enforceable. Additionally, the late fee must be deemed “reasonable’.

In Missouri, a late fee is considered reasonable if it is $20 or 20% of the monthly rent, whichever is higher, and this fee is not seen as a penalty.

Should a landlord set a higher late fee they must be able to prove its reasonableness. Finally, landlords can recover reasonable expenses for rent collection and lien enforcement, in addition to any late fees.

(MO Rev Stat § 415.417)  

How Long Does a Landlord Have to Fix Something in Missouri? 

Landlords must complete repairs needed to fix code violations within 14 days of notice of the violation due to property neglect. Once 14 days pass, the tenant can either proceed with the repairs themselves (with limitation, see (§§ 441.234)) or in certain circumstances, deduct up to $300 or half of a month’s rent, whichever is larger. 

Source: Missouri Landlord Tenant Law (PDF)

SECTION 2

2. Missouri Rent Increase Laws

Currently, rent control is banned in Missouri. This implies that landlords are permitted to raise rent as much as they want. However, they are required to give renters a proper written notice in advance (MO Rev Stat § 441.043). 

Notice Required to Raise Rent in Missouri

Missouri law does not stipulate a specific notice time before raising rent. The only exception is in the case of mobile homes, in which the landlords are required to give 60 days' notice before raising the rent (MO Rev Stat § 700.600).

Most landlords in Missouri use the notice time needed to terminate a lease as fair notice for a rent increase, which includes:

Limitations on Missouri Rent Increase Laws

In Missouri, a landlord is not allowed to raise the rent if:

  • The increase is implemented in a manner that unfairly targets one of the protected classes outlined in the Fair Housing Act.
  • The tenancy type is a fixed lease, unless the lease agreement specifies differently.

Read more:Missouri's Landlord-Tenant Law - CoMo.gov

SECTION 3

3. Missouri Rental Agreement Laws

When entering into a lease agreement in Missouri, it is important to include all necessary information to protect both the landlord and the tenant. 

Are written leases required in Missouri?

Both oral and written rental agreements are accepted in Missouri. However, leases over one year should always be documented in writing. Additionally, oral agreements are deemed month-to-month leases.

What is required in a Missouri rental agreement?

While Missouri doesn’t require specific clauses to be included in lease agreements, other than mandatory disclosures, there is certain information that should always be included in a lease. For example, landlords should include their name, his or her business address, phone number, rent amount, and lease period, along with other details.

Below is a list of some of the essential things to include to ensure a smooth and legally binding lease agreement.

  • Names and Contact Details of Interested Parties
  • Property Description and Address
  • Length of Lease and Rent
  • Utility and Maintenance Responsibilities 
  • Security and Pet Deposits
  • Clauses on Termination and Renewal

Free Resources: Missouri Lease Agreement Templates | eForms

SECTION 4

4. Missouri Tenant Deposit Laws

When renting out a home in Missouri, landlords are entitled to receive a security deposit from the tenant. However, landlords must abide by certain restrictions and obligations set forth by Missouri law regarding security deposits.

What is the Maximum Security Deposit Limit in Missouri?

Landlords in Missouri are not allowed to demand a security deposit in excess of two months' as per Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 535.300.  

Can Landlords Charge a Pet Deposit In Missouri?

Landlords are permitted by Missouri law to require reasonable pet deposits; nevertheless, it is imperative that they comply with the state's regulations on the aggregate sum of security deposits and their management. 

Additionally, this fee is waived for disabled individuals who rely on service and emotional support animals. 

What are Landlords Allowed to Deduct From Security Deposits in Missouri?

Missouri landlords are only permitted to take the following deductions from security deposits: 

  • Nonpayment of rent. 
  • Damage to property beyond normal wear and tear. 
  • Loss of money as a result of a renter leaving the rental property. 
  • Other serious violations of the rental agreement or lease.

(§§ 535.300(4)(3)).

How Must Landlords Hold Security Deposits in Missouri?

In Missouri, a landlord is required to put the security deposit into a bank account or an escrow account. The landlord is not permitted to keep the deposits in their own account or with them directly.  (§§ 535.300(2))

How Long Do Landlords Have to Return a Security Deposit in Missouri?

Missouri requires landlords to return security deposits to tenants within 30 days after the tenancy period ends, just like other states in the United States.  (§§ 535.300(3)).

The landlord is required to give the renter an itemized account of the reasons (such as a list of property damages) and the associated costs if there were deductions from the deposit. Also, the landlord is required to mention the amount of any outstanding balance on the account of deductions. 

If there are no deductions, the landlord is expected to reimburse the renter for the full amount of the security deposit within the allotted time.

Security Deposit Interest

If the landlord keeps the security deposit for longer than six months, Missouri law mandates that tenants get interest on the deposit. The annual interest rate needs to match the Federal Funds Rate from the previous December. (§§ 535.300(2)).

SECTION 5

5. Missouri Eviction Laws & Notices

Grounds for Eviction in Missouri

Missouri allows landlords to evict renters for a number of reasons, including failure to pay rent, breaking the terms of the lease, engaging in unlawful activity, causing damage to the property, and the end of the lease. 

Nonpayment of Rent

Missouri landlords may serve the tenant with a written notice to pay within ten days if the tenant does not pay the rent as stipulated in the lease on time. If the renter continues to default on the due rent after the allotted 10-day notice period, the landlord can proceed to file for eviction.

Lease Violations

The landlord may send the renter a notice to fix any violations of the lease within ten days, such as bringing in unapproved guests, pets, or vehicles. If the tenant disregards the notice given to remedy the lease violation, the landlord may proceed with the eviction procedure.

Illegal Activities 

When tenants in Missouri utilize their rented property for illicit purposes, such drug sales, their landlords have the right to swiftly evict them. Tenants may be given a written notice of five days to depart by the landlord. Without providing any further notice, the landlord may petition for eviction if the tenant does not vacate the property within five days.

Damage to Property

In Missouri, causing significant damage to the rented property is grounds for eviction. This can involve harm resulting from improper upkeep or hygiene. If the tenant damages the property, the landlord may offer a written notice of ten days' notice to quit.

End of Lease Term

Landlords have the right to evict tenants from a fixed-term lease if they do not leave the premises by the expiration date of the lease. Before the lease expires, the landlord must give the tenant written notice of at least thirty days' notice of their intention to quit. The landlord may file for eviction if the tenant remains after the lease's expiration date. 

Missouri Eviction Notice

In Missouri, a landlord must typically give written notice before filing for eviction. This gives the tenant a chance to fix the problem or leave the property without having to go through formal eviction procedures. The time frames for giving notice vary depending on the cause of eviction: 

  • Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: If rent is unpaid when due, landlords 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 the 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).

Missouri Eviction Process

Here's a breakdown of the key steps in Missouri eviction process:

  • Missouri Notice to Quit or Pay Rent: Tenant must first receive written notice from the landlord to quit property or pay rent. Depending on the cause of eviction, a different kind of notice may be needed.
  • Filing the Eviction Lawsuit: The landlord may sue the tenant in court to have them evicted if they disregard the notice.
  • Serving the Summons and Complaint: After that, the tenant will receive a summons and complaint from the court. The tenant is made aware of the case and their right of reply by these documents.
  • Tenant's Response: Tenant has a deadline for answering the case. They have the option to negotiate a settlement with the landlord, file a formal defense, or oppose the eviction.
  • Court Hearing: A judicial hearing will take place if a settlement cannot be reached. The judge will be given the chance to hear arguments and evidence from the landlord and tenant..
  • Writ of Possession and Enforcement: A writ of possession will be granted if the landlord wins the case in court. If the tenant doesn't leave on their own, this document gives police enforcement permission to take them out of the property.

Source: (Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 441.020, 441.030,441.040, 535.020 and 535.060).

SECTION 6

6. Missouri Rental Application Laws

Landlords are allowed to ask about anything during Missouri rental applications as long as it's in compliance with the federal Fair Housing Act regulations. 

Landlords are not permitted to conduct background checks without the tenant's permission. 

How much can landlords charge for rental applications in Missouri?

In Missouri, there’s no cap on the amount landlords can charge for application fees. There's also no designation under Missouri law to determine if this fee would be refundable or not, it's up to the landlord to decide. 

What to Include in a Missouri Rental Application Form

Landlords in Missouri are required to include certain basic information on their rental application forms in order to guarantee the most effective verification procedure possible. The following are some questions a landlord should ask a potential tenant: 

  • Personal details
  • Credit history
  • Income details
  • Rental history
  • Information about their employer
  • References
  • Section (or separate document) to grant the landlord permission to run a background check

Read more: Missouri's Landlord-Tenant Law | City of Columbia Missouri (.gov)

SECTION 7

7. Breaking a Lease in Missouri

Tenants in Missouri are subject to specific rights and obligations regarding lease breaches, which are outlined in the state's landlord-tenant laws and lease agreements. Missouri law further specifies the responsibilities of renters with relation to giving notice to the landlord and fulfilling any financial obligations upon lease termination.

Notice Requirements to End a Rental Lease in Missouri

Tenants in Missouri, like in the majority of other states, must give written Missouri eviction notice if they intend to terminate a periodic lease. In Missouri, there are two criteria for the notification of lease termination: 

  • 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.

It's important to note that when a tenant breaks a fixed-term lease, they are not required to give any notice.

Valid Reasons for Breaking a Lease

There are certain situations where tenants are able to terminate a lease early without incurring fines. To enable the landlord to make arrangements, they must, however, adhere to specific guidelines and give notice as soon as feasible. 

Below is an overview of every requirement that must be met in order for a renter to vacate a rental property without incurring any fees.

Active Military Duty

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides protection to active service members. It specifically defends commissioned corps members and personnel of the:

  • Activated National Guard
  • Armed Forces 
  • Public Health Service
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

However, tenants are required to provide appropriate notice and a copy of the deployment orders, PCS orders, or any other relevant letter to the landlord in order to terminate a lease under the SCRA's protection.

Early Termination Clause

An 'Early Termination Clause' gives you the ability to outline all the terms and conditions associated with breaching a lease, including what to do, possible consequences, and exclusions. 

Before making any significant decisions, it is the responsibility of both parties to go over the terms of the lease. If not, they may eventually face legal repercussions.

Landlord Harassment

A lease may be broken by some tenants using the justification of "Landlord Harassment." They may be able to avoid having to pay rent if they can demonstrate that the offense was sufficiently serious. 

'Landlord Harassment' is commonly associated with two situations: 

  • breaking into the property without permission.
  • locking the renter out of the rented property. 

It is the landlord's responsibility to provide information regarding their right of entry in the lease, even though there are no laws pertaining to notice requirements for entering a property. 

However, without the tenant's permission, landlords are not allowed to alter the locks or remove doors or windows.

Uninhabitable Unit

When renting out their property, all Missouri landlords are required to adhere to health and safety regulations. If not, the tenant would no longer be required to make rent payments. 

The following is required of landlords by Missouri landlord-tenant law: 

  • a unit that conforms to all state regulations on habitability. 
  • repairs done on damages caused by typical wear and tear. 
  • utilities operating safely and in good condition. It is not reasonable for landlords to switch off these utilities.

Domestic Violence/Stalking/Sexual Abuse

Missouri offers protection to those who have been the victims of stalking, domestic abuse, or sexual assault. If certain requirements are met, these individuals may occasionally break their lease without incurring penalties. 

It's important to remember that landlords have the right to confirm any assertions made by tenants about their status. 

Sources

SECTION 8

8. HOA Laws in Missouri

Below is an overview of some Missouri HOA Laws that often apply to homeowners associations:

Missouri Nonprofit Corporation Law

Homeowners associations in Missouri are not governed by any state legislation. Title XXIII, Chapter 355 of the Missouri Revised Statutes contains the Missouri Nonprofit Corporation Law, which must be followed by HOAs, which are frequently organized as nonprofits. 

Any business founded specifically with the intention of creating a homeowners' and neighborhood improvement organization is subject to this law. It offers instructions for the association's internal procedures and describes the corporate structure of the organization.

Missouri Condominium Property and Missouri Uniform Condominium Act

The Missouri Condominium Property and Uniform Condominium Acts regulate condominium associations. However, it's important to note that this act only applies to condominium associations founded after September 28, 1983, while the Missouri Condominium Property Act would oversee associations formed before that. 

Note that in the latter, specific provisions will apply to condominiums developed after September 28, 1983.

Missouri Human Rights Act

The purpose of this act is to shield present and future homeowners from housing discrimination on the basis of the following: 

  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Race
  • National origin
  • Familial status 
  • Color
  • Ancestry
  • Sex

The Act carries out the protections provided by the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at the state level. 

Sources

SECTION 9

9. Squatters Rights in Missouri

According to Missouri law, a squatter must be able to occupy a property for a predetermined period of time (continuously for 10 years) to be able to claim adverse possession. 

Additionally, in order to acquire complete Missouri squatters rights, a squatter needs to occupy the property in the following way.

  • The Squatter Must Physically Occupy the Property: They have to act as though they are the real owner and be physically present. The improvements a squatter makes while occupying the land can serve as proof of this.
  • The Occupation Must be Obvious to Anyone: Anyone walking by must be able to tell that someone is living on the property. It should be possible for even the real owner to determine whether someone else is using their property.
  • The Occupation of the Unit Must be Exclusive: Stated differently, the trespasser needs to be the only one engaged in their line of work. Their claim of adverse possession would be void if they shared it with anybody else.
  • The Occupation Must be Uninterrupted for the Entire 10-year Period: As mentioned earlier, squatters in Missouri must live on the land for a minimum of ten years. Furthermore, this time frame needs to remain continuous for the full duration. To leave for any length of time would be to renounce their claim to the property.

Source: (RSMo  §§ 516.040)