Missouri Property Management Laws

Property managers should stay up to date with their state's property management laws so they have a firm understanding of their rights to help their businesses run smoothly. Missouri law clearly sets out landlord and tenant obligations for a variety of both common and specific rental situations and provides information on the appropriate recourse for resolving tenant-landlord conflicts.

This informational guide provides property managers and tenants a high level overview of what they can legally expect when leasing or renting a dwelling. In addition to outlining the specific laws, this guide includes extra resources to help you learn more about rental laws in Missouri. The information included in this guide is meant to clarify your rights and obligations as a property manager or landlord in Missouri.

Key Points

  • 1 If a Missouri state law does not specify the appropriate recourse or obligation for a particular situation, a clause may be included in the lease detailing what is expected of the landlord and the tenant. This clause is legally binding as long as it does not contradict an existing state law.
  • 2 Some disclosure obligations may vary depending on what city or country the property is in. It’s always important to check local laws.
  • 3 Certain exemptions may apply for tenants who are active service members or victims of domestic violence. Additionally, exemptions for owners of old age homes and mobile park homes also exist.
  • 4 The Missouri Implied Warranty of Habitability Law obliges landlords to maintain the dwelling in a safe and livable condition at all times.

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.

Property Management Laws Overview in Missouri

Code Description
441.630 Tenants’ Rights and Responsibilities
535.300 Security Deposit Laws
441.233 Rights Regarding Utilities
441.234 Repair Obligations for Landlords
441.060 Laws Regarding at Will Tenancies
441.050 Laws Regarding Year Long Tenancies
441.710 – 441.880 Eviction Laws
Section 1018 of Title X Federal Lead Paint Disclosure Act
535.185 Disclosure Laws
41.944 Housing Laws for Military Personnel
441.92 Housing Laws for Victims of Domestic Violence
287.780 Law Prohibiting Retaliation by Landlords
441.920 Housing Laws for Victims of Domestic Violence
SB 753 Mobile Home and Tenants Rights Act

Rental Application Laws

What application fees are allowed?

Missouri law doesn’t specify a limit to the amount of fees a landlord may charge to process applications. Application fees are non-refundable, regardless of the success or failure of the application. 

Can landlords discriminate against prospective tenants?

Missouri tenants are protected by the state’s Human Rights Act which prevents property owners from discriminating against applicants on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, national origin, pregnancy or family status. Landlords may not request additional security deposits from tenants who use wheelchairs. The Federal Fair Housing Act also applies. 

Those who believe they have been discriminated against can file a complaint with the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Security Deposit Laws

Is there a limit on the security deposit amount that can be charged?

Yes, landlords may charge a maximum of two months’ rent as a security deposit. (535.300)

Does the landlord have to hold the security deposit in a specific way during occupancy?

Security deposits need to be held in a federally insured bank account, trust or credit union that is used only for security deposits. Any interest accrued on the security deposits belongs exclusively to the landlord. 

How long does the landlord have to return the security deposit after move out?

The security deposit must be returned to a former tenant no later than 30 days after he or she moves out. The tenant is responsible for supplying their landlord with a forwarding address so the owner is able to return the deposit.

Mobile home property managers need to return the tenant’s security deposit within 15 days of the lease’s end. (SB 753

What other security deposit laws apply?

Tenants cannot use their security deposit to pay for their last month’s rent. 

What are the reasons why a landlord can withhold part or all of the security deposit?

A landlord can withhold all or part of a tenant’s security deposit to cover any unpaid rent or loss of rent incurred from an insufficient departure notice, and to make repairs to the property outside of the scope of normal wear and tear.

If some or all of the security deposit is withheld, the landlord must provide the tenant an itemized list showing the deductions within 30 days of the termination of the lease. 

What is the penalty if the landlord doesn’t return the security deposit?

If a landlord neglects to return a security deposit within the allotted 30 days, the tenant may sue to reclaim up to two times the amount of the deposit. 

Laws About Leases and Lease Termination

What types of lease terms are allowed?

Missouri law accepts both written and verbal lease agreements with either month-to-month or year-long occupancy terms. (441.050) (441.060)

What happens if the tenant violates the lease?

A tenant can be subject to eviction or financial penalty for violating terms of the lease. 

How much notice is required for a month-to-month lease termination?

Either the tenant or the landlord can terminate a month-to-month or “at will” lease by providing a written notice 30 days before they intend to vacate (in the case of a tenant) or repossess the property (in the case of a landlord). 

When can a tenant terminate a term lease without penalty?

A tenant can terminate a year-long lease by providing written notice that they do not intend to renew at least 60 days before the end of the lease term.

Tenants in mobile homes need only supply a 30-day notice to terminate their leases.

How much notice do service members have to supply before terminating the lease?

Service members are only required to provide 15 days’ notice to terminate a lease if they need to permanently change stations, temporarily change stations for more than 90 days, are released from active duty or have been otherwise ordered to live elsewhere.

Landlords may not charge a penalty for this early termination, and service members are entitled to get back their entire security deposit, so long as there are no other reasonable terms for the landlord to keep it. (41.944)

Are there special lease termination rules for victims of domestic violence?

Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking can break their lease without penalty and without liability for back rent by sending their landlord documentation attesting to their abuse or stating that remaining in the dwelling poses a threat to their statement. These documents can include a police report or written confirmation from a rape crisis center, medical provider or health service worker. (441.920)

How and when can a landlord evict a tenant?

A landlord can immediately evict a tenant who uses the property for illegal purposes by providing a written 10-day notice. The lessor is responsible for providing proof of illegal activity. (441.710 – 441.880)

Tenants may also be evicted if they:

  • do not pay the rent
  • attack, injure or harass the landlord or a fellow tenant
  • violate any specific lease terms
  • decline to vacate the premises at the end of their lease
  • cause substantial damage to the property 

How much notice does a landlord have to give before making changes to the property that result in the termination of tenancy?

A 60-day notice is required to terminate a written lease agreement, whether or not the lease will be terminated because of property changes. 

Laws About Rent and Late Fees 

When can a landlord increase rent?

With verbal at-will leases, landlords can increase the rent at any time by providing 30 days’ notice to the tenant. For written year-long leases, the landlord can increase the rent at the end of the current lease term to take effect for the next lease period. 

Is there a maximum amount of rent that a landlord can charge tenants?

There is no maximum. Missouri landlords can set the rental price at whatever they want. 

Is there a state-mandated grace period that landlords must give tenants before charging a late fee?

No, Missouri law does not have a provision concerning late fees. However, tenants in mobile homes are legally provided a 5-day grace period. 

Legally Required Disclosures

What types of disclosures are landlords required to supply regarding ownership of the property?

Before the tenant begins his or her tenancy, their landlord must provide them with the name and address of both the property manager and the property owner in writing. (535.185)

Additionally, if the property is sold to a new owner, his or her identity and address must be given in writing to the tenant without delay. 

Can the owner designate an agent to serve and receive disclosures?

The laws in Missouri don’t specify any restrictions for agents serving and receiving disclosures. 

What disclosures related to mold are landlords required to supply?

State law doesn’t mandate what disclosures landlords need to make in regards to mold. 

What disclosures related to lead paint are landlords required to supply?

If a tenant rents a property built before 1978 that is known to have lead paint, the property owner is legally required to notify them in writing of the lead paint risk and give them an information pamphlet published by the federal government. (Federal Lead Paint Disclosure Act)

Other required disclosures in Missouri:

Tenants have a right to know if the dwelling they intend to rent had previously been used to manufacture methamphetamine (441.236). They are also entitled to a disclosure of any expected late fees for dishonored rental payments (570.120).

Laws About Landlord Responsibilities

How much notice does the landlord have to supply before entry?

There are no state laws governing the amount of notice a landlord must give before entering a tenant’s dwelling. However, local or county ordinances may apply.

When can the tenant refuse to allow the landlord entry?

Missouri law doesn’t cover a tenant’s right to refuse entry to their landlord. 

What steps must the landlord take to keep the property habitable?

According to Missouri’s Implied Warranty of Habitability law, the landlord needs to keep the property in a safe, sanitary and habitable condition. This means the building must be kept structurally sound, the common areas must be maintained in a clean and habitable state and the dwelling needs to be kept free of insect and rodent infestation. 

What utilities must the landlord supply and maintain?

The landlord needs to maintain a supply of hot and cold water and heating to the rented unit.

Does the landlord have to supply a certificate of inspection?

There aren’t any state-level laws requiring landlords to provide tenants with an inspection certificate, but local laws may apply. 

Is the landlord required to supply locks and keys?

No, the property owner is not required to change or modify the locks before a new tenant takes possession of a dwelling. 

Are retaliatory actions prohibited?

Yes. A landlord cannot shut off access to utilities, raise the rent, refuse to make repairs for or evict a tenant who has filed a discrimination charge against him or her. (287.780)

Property Maintenance and Repair Laws

What type of maintenance is the landlord responsible for?

The landlord is responsible for fixing ordinary wear and tear to the dwelling, including weather and environmental damage. 

How long does the landlord have to make repairs?

Missouri law expects landlords to make repairs within a “reasonable timeframe,” except in the case that those repairs are needed to keep the unit in a safe and habitable condition, in which case they must make repairs within 15 days of receiving a written request from their tenant. If they do not, the tenant can deduct the cost of the repairs from the upcoming month’s rent. (441.234)

What type of maintenance is the tenant responsible for?

Tenants are required to keep their dwelling clean and sanitary by disposing of garbage and organic waste. They are also responsible for fixing any damage they cause that falls outside the scope of normal, everyday wear and tear. (441.630)

Is the landlord responsible to fix damage caused by tenants?

The landlord must make reasonable repairs related to the normal use of the unit. Excessive or intentional damage is the tenant’s responsibility to fix. 

When can a tenant request an official inspection to determine substandard or dangerous living conditions?

Some cities in Missouri oblige landlords to register their rental properties with an official inspection bureau to whom tenants can turn for more information on the habitability of their dwellings. There are, however, no state laws governing this issue.

Under what circumstances can a tenant make a repair and deduct the cost from the rent paid to the landlord?

There are very few situations where a tenant can withhold the cost of repairs from the rent, and they must fulfill certain requirements first. To petition to deduct repairs, a tenant must (441.234):

  • Have lived in the unit for more than 6 months
  • Be up to date on their rent
  • Not withhold more than the equivalent of one month’s rent

Who Is Exempt?

Residences reserved for senior citizens are allowed to discriminate against potential applicants on the basis of age. 

Mobile home owners and tenants are similarly exempt from certain state laws. Property managers of units with four or fewer dwellings may also have specific provisions that apply to them. 

If you believe you are exempt from following state housing laws, it’s best to contact a local attorney for legal guidance. 

Additional Rental Law Resources for the State of Missouri

 
Name Phone Description
Missouri’s Landlord-Tenant Law Guidebook N/A This summary of Missouri’s housing laws published by the state attorney general gives tenants and landlords an easily accessible overview of the main laws that apply to them.
The Missouri Human Rights Act N/A More information on housing discrimination laws and advice on what to do if you feel you have been discriminated against can be found on the Missouri Department of Labour and Industrial Relation’s website.
Directory of Missouri Public Housing N/A To learn more about the availability of public housing in Missouri and to apply for assistance, visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.