If renters have damaged a house they were renting, how much time does the landlord have to bring suit against them?

The renters moved out about 2 1/2 years ago. Before the renters moved out they did damage to the house. There was a signed lease but the renters were not asked to make a deposit prior to moving in. There was pictures taken of the house before the renters moved in and after the moved out of the damage.

Asked on February 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It appears that the landlord would have at least 5 years, possibly 10 years, to sue. The time to sue is defined by what's known as the "statute of limitations." Every cause of action, or reason to sue, has its own statute. In MO, the statute for damage to personal property is 5 years--so even if damage to the rental premises, or the tenant's obligation to keep it in good repair, was not addressed in a lease, the landlord should have at least this long. If the lease addressed damage to the premises, the landlord should have the statutory period for enforcing a breach of a written contract, which is 10 years.

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