Missouri Eviction

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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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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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 in 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 after a grace period, breach of the lease agreement, damage to property, staying after the lease has ended, or tenant involvement in criminal activity.

Is there more than one notice of termination given in Missouri?

There are two types of eviction suits in Missouri. One is the eviction lawsuit 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 lawsuit is an unlawful detainer action. This is appropriate when the lease has ended and the tenant will not leave, or when the tenant has committed any lease violations and the landlord wants to evict.

The eviction 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, an eviction 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 an eviction lawsuit. (R.S.Mo. 535.020)

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How to get help during or before the eviction procedure?

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 eviction actions 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.

Are there 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).

What questions should be asked to your Missouri evictions lawyer?

  1. How many eviction cases have you handled?
  2. How many were successful/unsuccessful?
  3. How long will the eviction proceedings take?
  4. For tenants: How long do I have before I MUST move out?
  5. For landlords: 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?
  6. What do you charge?
  7. For landlords: If I hire you, will I be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?

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