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MissouriFamilies.org - Money Matters - Consumer Action

 

Feature article: Housing

 

What do you know about Missouri landlord-tenant law?

Brenda Procter, M.S., state specialist & instructor, Personal Financial Planning, University of Missouri Extension

 

Missourians do not always know everything they should about laws to protect the rights of landlords and tenants. Unfortunately, some landlords do know the law and take advantage of renters who do not. Landlord-tenant law is specific to each state. Here is a quick quiz to help you learn about Missouri law.

 

  1. Which of the following actions can get a tenant evicted?
    a. Damage to the property
    b. Failure to pay rent
    c. Violation of the terms of the lease
    d. Allowing drug-related criminal activity on the property
    e. All of the above
  2.  

    The answer is e. All of the above!

     

  3. You return to your apartment one day and find all of your belongings outside and new locks on the door. Your landlord says that she had the right to evict you for failing to pay rent.
    a. True
    b. False
  4.  

    The answer is b. False!

    Not paying rent can get you evicted, but a landlord must get a court order first. For a legal eviction, you must get a written notice from the landlord that an eviction lawsuit has been filed, and you get a chance to tell the court your side of the story before they issue an order.

     

  5. You ask the landlord to make a repair to your apartment. She doesn’t do it, so you can legally quit paying rent.
    a. True
    b. False
  6.  

    The answer is b. False!

    Landlords must make needed repairs, but not paying rent can get you evicted. In some cases a tenant may make repairs and deduct the cost from the rent, but only if certain conditions are true. Go to the Missouri attorney general’s Web site at http://ago.mo.gov/Consumer-Protection.htm or call the toll-free consumer protection hot line at 800-392-8222 to find out what your rights are.

     

  7. You pay your rent late, so your landlord decides to turn off your electricity and water until you pay rent. The landlord is legally allowed to turn off utilities to punish late payments.
    a. True
    b. False
  8.  

    The answer is b. False!

    The landlord cannot get your utilities turned off unless it is for health and safety reasons.

     

  9. You have given your landlord proper notice that you will not renew your lease. You wake up in the middle of the night to find your landlord inspecting the apartment for damages. The landlord tells you he can inspect for damages any time during the last month of the lease.
    a. True
    b. False
  10.  

    The answer is b. False!

    The landlord must notify you of the time and date he plans to inspect the dwelling. You have the right to be present at the inspection, which you should do if possible, and the inspection must be at a reasonable time.

     

  11. Your landlord catches you selling illegal drugs from your apartment. You receive a written court order from the local county court ordering you to immediately vacate the apartment. You argue that you are entitled to more notice.
    a. True
    b. False
  12.  

    The answer is b. False!

    The landlord can evict you right away. By law, county courts can order the quick eviction of tenants involved in drug-related criminal activity or violence, even when they do not get arrested. Prior written notice is not required.

     

  13. If you get evicted, the eviction will probably show up on your credit report in the future.
    a. True
    b. False
  14.  

    The answer is a. True!

    An eviction is a legal proceeding and may show on your credit report. That’s why landlords usually check your credit report before renting to you. If you get evicted, it may be difficult to get into rental property in the future.

     

  15. Your landlord keeps all of your security deposit to cover damage that you can prove was from normal use. You may sue to recover up to double the amount that was withheld.
    a. True
    b. False
  16.  

    The answer is a. True!

    You have the right to sue to get twice the amount they kept.

 

Learn more about Missouri’s landlord-tenant laws from a free booklet you can order from the Missouri attorney general's Web site at http://ago.mo.gov/publications/landlordtenant.htm.

 

Or, take an additional set of quiz questions at http://ago.mo.gov/cgi-bin/ConsumerCorner/quizzes/Landlord-Tenant-Law.cgi.

 

 

Adapted from “You’re out! Missouri’s landlord tenant laws” by Cynthia E. Crawford, Ph.D. and Carole Bozworth, Ph.D., family financial education specialists, University of Missouri Extension

 

 


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Last update: Wednesday, March 10, 2010