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Renters Rights in Missouri

Planning to rent your next apartment in Missouri? There are certain things to keep in mind to make it a pleasant and problem-free experience. From paying rent on time to informing a landlord about any property-related issues — every tenant has particular responsibilities they have to fulfill. And, of course, there are certain renters’ rights that have to be respected. This article is created for all tenants and landlords who need some help understanding the basic landlord-tenant laws in Missouri.

Rental Application

Application fee: not indicated
Application fee refund: non-refundable 
Rental agreement required: oral or written

Since there is no rent control, there is also no cap on the application fee that the property manager can charge. This fee is also non-refundable.

Similar to many other states, both oral and written rental agreements in Missouri are accepted. Be aware that the oral rental agreement can last only one month. And, if you’re going to rent a property for longer than 12 months, it is required to sign a written rental agreement. 

Of course, we always advise signing the agreement in writing no matter the length of your rental period. Written agreements bring more clarity for both parties and can be used if any confusion or misunderstanding occurs. What’s more, if the issue is too substantial and you have to address a lawyer or file a lawsuit, written agreements are much easier to work with in court.

Security Deposit

Pet deposit maximum: not indicated
Security deposit maximum: two months’ rent
Security deposit interest: no
Return deposit deadline: 30 days
List of charges with the basis for the claim: required
Legal reasons to keep security deposit: to cover unpaid rent or property damage beyond normal wear and tear

Landlord-tenant laws in Missouri specify that the maximum security deposit amount cannot exceed two months’ rent. What’s more, if you have a pet, your landlord can ask for extra money to cover any possible damages that will not be included in the security deposit itself. 

When it comes to security deposits, the landlord is obligated to keep money in a bank, credit union, or depository institution. But, if the security deposit accumulates any interest, a landlord or property manager can keep it to themselves. 

A security deposit has to be returned to the renter thirty days after the last day of the tenancy. The landlord has a right to keep the whole deposit or some part of it to cover any unpaid rent, property damage, or if the tenant fails to give proper and timely notice to terminate the tenancy. If that’s the case, the landlord or property manager would have to send by mail an itemized list of the damages together with the rest of the security deposit, according to the Missouri state laws.

Also, you should keep in mind that the tenant cannot use the security deposit to cover the last month’s rent.

Security and Comfort

Smoke alarms: required
Carbon monoxide detectors: required if there is a CO source in the house
Rekey requirements: not indicated

According to Missouri tenant-landlord laws, properly working smoke alarms are required in immediate proximity from each sleeping area. The tenant’s responsibility is to replace the batteries when needed in battery-powered alarms. 

Tenant rights in the state do not specify if landlords have to change the locks in between renters.

st louis, missouri

Rental Payments

Maximum rent: not indicated
Rent increase: not indicated
Right to deduct the cost of repairs: allowed, with certain conditions
Late payment limit: not indicated

Missouri is considered to be one of the landlord-friendly states in the country. There are no rent control laws in place, so the property manager or the landlord is not limited to the amount of rent they can charge. In the case of Missouri state, rental prices are shaped by the market solely. 

If you have a signed long-term lease, the landlord has no right to increase the rent during the rental period unless the contract states otherwise. Rental laws in Missouri do not have a specific provision indicating the amount of notice the landlord must provide before increasing the rent in case of month-to-month tenancies. That’s why it might be a good idea to make sure this subject is included in your written agreement. Typically, landlords should inform about any changes in tenancy terms one month before these changes take place. 

Renters have the right to deduct the cost of repairs in certain cases, but you should try your best to resolve the issue without resorting to this option. And, if you do, it might be good to consult with an attorney before taking any action. 

Briefly speaking, the tenant can deduct the cost of repairs only if they occupy the property for longer than six months, have made all payments so far, and have not violated any lease agreement provisions. 

Suppose there is a problem that affects the habitability, sanitation, or security of the rental property. In that case, a tenant in Missouri may inform the landlord about their intention to repair the issue and deduct the cost of repairs. The maintenance cost should not be more than three hundred dollars or a half of your monthly rent, whichever is greater. Additionally, you’d have to give your landlord or a property manager a notice in writing that states your intentions 14 days in advance. 

If they fail to solve the issue, you can deduct the cost of repairs. But, don’t forget to present the landlord an itemized list of repairs together with all related receipts!

Lease Terminations

Notice to terminate lease: 60 days; one month in case of a month-to-month tenancy
Eviction notice for not paying rent: can be filed immediately
Eviction notice for lease violation: 10 days

Missouri tenant-landlord law states that either party can terminate the lease by giving written notice at least 60 days before the end of the lease. For month-to-month rental agreements, landlords and tenants are obligated to inform the other party in writing a month in advance.

If the tenant violates the lease, they have ten days to vacate the premises before the landlord can file an eviction. Examples of such violation include but are not limited to subletting without consent, possession, sale, or distribution of controlled substances, and damage of the property.

There might be a grace period stated in the rental agreement when it comes to not paying rent. However, if this is not included in the agreement, the landlord can begin an eviction immediately or give the tenant some time to address the issue. In their turn, the renter has the possibility to stop the process of eviction by paying the owed rent by the time specified by the court.

We’ve also put together an article about general tenant-landlord laws in the country. As you know, state laws may significantly differ from each other — that’s why it’s so important to be well-acquainted with your particular state laws. But, certain laws and regulations are identical to all the tenants and landlords in the US. And, of course, that’s where you need to start!

Disclaimer: Although we have relied on Official State Statutes and other credible sources to find and analyze information for this post, you’re advised to use it as a starting point only and do not consider this article a substitute for legal advice. Some situations are unique, and it is always better to consult with a qualified lawyer or appropriate government agencies.

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