The Missouri eviction process does not allow locking out tenants or shutting off their utilities. Landlords should avoid doing so or face the risk of penalties. There are several reasons a Missouri landlord may lawfully evict a tenant, including failure to pay rent, breach of the lease agreement, damage to property, staying after the lease has ended, or tenant involvement in criminal activity. Read our legal guide below for more information on Missouri eviction laws.
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UPDATED: Dec 30, 2020
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Missouri landlords must go through the eviction process to evict their tenants. Locking out tenants or shutting off their utilities is not legal is Missouri and landlords should avoid doing so or face the risk of penalties. There are a number of reasons a Missouri landlord may lawfully evict a tenant, including failure to pay rent, breach of the lease agreement, damage to property, staying after the lease has ended, or tenant involvement in criminal activity.
Available Missouri Termination Notices
There are two types of eviction suits in Missouri. One is the suit for rent and possession. This is appropriate when the tenant has not paid rent and the landlord wants possession of the property. The other type of eviction suit is an unlawful detainer action. This is appropriate when the lease has ended and the tenant will not leave, or when the tenant has violated the lease and the landlord wants to evict.
The notice requirement for unlawful detainers is that the landlord demand possession of the premises from the tenant. It is a 30-day notice (R.S.Mo. 534.030 and 441.060).
For rent and possession actions, notice is not technically required, but the landlord must demand that the tenant pay their rent. When the tenant does not, the landlord can file suit. (R.S.Mo. 535.020)
Evictions in Missouri are handled in the small claims division of the Circuit Courts. Find your local Circuit Court at the Missouri Courts website. Forms for eviction filings will usually be available at your local Circuit Court. While carrying out an eviction by merely filling out a form may seem like the easiest solution to your problem, sometimes things do not go as smoothly as you had planned. If that’s the case, you might be interested in hiring or consulting an experienced Missouri landlord tenant attorney. When doing so, you can refer to Questions to Ask Your Missouri Evictions Lawyer below for additional assistance.
Self-Help Evictions in Missouri
It is not legal in Missouri to throw out a tenant without a court order. Landlords must go through the eviction process if they want to evict a tenant. If a landlord breaks the law against self-help evictions, he or she may be liable for double the actual damages (R.S.Mo. 441.233).
Questions to Ask Your Missouri Evictions Lawyer
- How many evictions cases have you handled?
- How many were successful/unsuccessful?
- How long will the eviction process take?
- For tenants: How long do I have before I MUST move out?
- Forlandlords: Will I be able to get a judgment for back rent for the amount of time the tenant has been living in the rental property illegally?
- What do you charge?
- For landlords: If I hire you, will I be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?