Landlord-tenant disputes are quite common. However, these conflicts can easily be avoided if both parties understand the basics of the state's tenancy laws.
Whether you are a tenant looking to find out your rights or responsibilities, or a landlord seeking to learn the statewide tenancy laws, you've landed on the right page.
The following is an overview of the state's landlord-tenant laws.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Missouri
Before a tenant signs the lease, the landlord must make the following clear:
- Meth Lab: Landlords must notify prospective tenants in writing if the premise was used as a Methamphetamine manufacturing lab.
- Lead: Landlords must also disclose to their tenants all known lead paint hazards.
- Tenants' Responsibilities: Landlords have a duty to take tenants through the list of all their responsibilities.
- Landlords' Responsibilities: Landlords also must disclose to prospective tenants what they are responsible for.
- Name and Addresses: Landlords are required to provide the tenant with their name and address.
Missouri Tenant Rights & Responsibilities
Under the statewide landlord-tenant law, Columbia tenants have the right to:
- Receive notification when the landlord is looking to change a term of the lease agreement.
- Live in a property that meets Missouri habitability laws.
- Receive notice when the landlord is looking to enter the premises to make needed or requested repairs.
- Have requested repairs made within a reasonable amount of time.
- Receive written notices for the deposit and rent paid.
As for responsibilities, tenants are responsible for:
- Abiding by all terms of the lease or rental agreement, including paying rent on time.
- Keeping noise levels low.
- Letting their landlords know when a maintenance issue arises.
- Notifying their landlords when looking to move out.
- Ensuring the property is well taken care of.
Missouri Landlord Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords in Missouri have a right to:
- Get notified by a tenant who is looking to move out.
- Be notified when a tenant is looking to make any alterations to the property.
- Receive rental payments when they are due.
- Be notified when a tenant is looking to leave town for an extended period of time.
- Evict their tenant with legal justification.
As for responsibilities, landlords are responsible for:
- Following the state's eviction laws when trying to evict their tenant.
- Abiding by all terms of the rental or lease agreement.
- Providing their tenant with a written notice when looking to change a term or terms of the lease or rental agreement.
- Giving their tenants a notice when they wish to access the property to inspect it, make requested or required repairs, or show it to prospective buyers, lenders or prospective tenants.
- Making both emergency and non-emergency repairs as promptly as possible.
- Providing a property that meets all relevant health, safety and building codes.
Overview of Missouri Landlord-Tenant Laws
Small Claims Courts
Landlords and tenants can sue one another in a small claims court. However, it can't exceed $5,000.
There are many situations where a small claims court may be beneficial for either party, including:
- When a tenant is seeking to get their security deposit back.
- In case of personal injury.
- When the landlord is seeking to get due rent that a tenant owes them.
- When the landlord is seeking compensation for malicious property damage from a negligent and irresponsible tenant.
- When either party has violated the terms of the lease or rental agreement.
Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent
Every Columbia landlord has the responsibility to provide a rental property that meets the basic safety, health and building codes. If they don't, the tenant has the right to stop further rent payments.
Before exercising this right, however, the issue in question must meet two criteria:
- The issue must fall under the landlord's list of responsibilities.
- The issue in question must make the unit uninhabitable.
The Condition, Maintenance, & Repair
As already aforementioned, it's the responsibility of the landlord to provide a rental that meets the basic Missouri health, safety, and building codes. However, what exactly does a habitable property entail?
Well, a habitable property must have:
- Locks that are conforming.
- Properly maintained stairways, floors, and railings.
- Effective weatherproofing on windows, exterior walls, and the roof.
- Up-to-code plumbing, and heating and lighting facilities.
- Clean and vermin free appurtenances, grounds, and buildings.
- Adequate garbage receptacles.
If the landlord doesn't provide this, then a court would probably rule that the tenant can be constructively evicted. In such case, the tenant may be able to choose whether to exercise their "repair and deduct" right or just simply decide to move out without any further responsibility under the lease.
Housing Discrimination Laws
Columbia, MO tenants are protected from any form of discrimination in housing. It's illegal for landlords to discriminate against a tenant based on their familial status, disability, sex, ancestry, national origin, race, color, and religion.
The Act also makes it illegal for landlords to retaliate against their tenants for exercising their legal right. Such rights may include a right to file for a discrimination complaint, or to assist or testify in an investigation.
Landlords in Missouri should collect a security deposit. When collecting, storing or returning a security deposit, landlords must follow certain rules.
For the full text regarding the state's security deposit laws, please click here.
For more information regarding landlord-tenant laws in Columbia, please contact Real Property Group today.
Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws frequently change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.