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New Missouri Law Protects Property Owners in Eviction Cases

Protects Property Owners

JEFFERSON, Mo. – Two bills enacted by the Missouri legislature will give property owners better control and quicker access to their property following a court-ordered eviction. Highlights of the bills, HB 1410 and SB 655, which became effective in August, include:

  • The definition of the term “lessee” has been modified to restrict it only to persons who have leased the premises and are obligated to pay rent and also adds statutory definitions for the terms “landlord” and “tenant.” Prior to this legislation, anyone who had permission from the tenant to stay in the apartment was by definition considered a “lessee.”
  • The tenant will now have 24 hours to vacate the premises following a court-ordered eviction. After 24 hours, the property owner has the right to reenter and take possession of the premises. If a person residing at the property is not a lessee, the person can be removed immediately from the property.
  • Tenants can no longer apply for a trial de novo in most landlord/tenant cases. A trial de novo is when a tenant can request a new trial to extend the time he remains on the property without paying rent.
  • Tenants can no longer claim right of defense when they willfully cause damage to the property.
  • A tenant who claims unlawful detainer or forcible entry must now file his case before a circuit court judge.
  • The new law allows judgments for unpaid rent to be reviewed by publication instead of requiring the notice to be served on the tenant.
  • In Jackson County, Mo., the requirement that only the sheriff can serve a summons has been removed. An outside service can now be used.

Both Steve Lightner, President of the Missouri Apartment Association (MAA), and MAA’s lobbyist testified in support of these bills. Through MAA’s education efforts, they were able to successfully communicate many of the problems that property owners currently have in removing problem tenants who damage their property or refuse to pay their rent.

Missouri Apartment Association, Missouri Legislature