My basic rights as a Missouri tenant

  • Living conditions. Your landlord must provide safe, sanitary and livable housing conditions. (No mice or insect infestation, working plumbing, heat, ventilation, etc.)
  • No retaliation. Your landlord may not retaliate against you for reporting housing code violations.
  • No self help eviction. Your landlord may not force you or your things out of your home without a court order.
  • Utility shut-off. Your landlord may not disconnect your utilities under any circumstance.
  • Deposit.  Your landlord may not charge you more than the equivalent of two months rent for your security deposit. The landlord must return your security deposit within 30 days from the date you move out along with an explanation for any deductions for repairs.  (See “Getting your deposit back” below for details). 
  • Privacy and respect. Your landlord may not enter your residence without your permission or reasonable advance notice.
  • Discrimination. A landlord may not deny you housing or treat you differently from other tenants because of your race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion or family status. Sexual harassment is also prohibited.
  • Late Fees. Your landlord may only charge you for fees (including late fees) that are provided for in your lease.
  • Deceptive behavior. Your landlord may not misrepresent the condition of the home to get you to move in or make other false statements to you.
  • Landlord sells the property. If your landlord sells the building to another, the new owner must provide you with notice, contact information and a copy of the deed before collecting rent.
  • A word of warning.  If a landlord violates your rights, do not respond by withholding rent.  A landlord may be able to evict you for withholding rent and, under Missouri law, it is unclear whether a landlord’s abuses may be used as a defense for non-payment.  Instead, call a lawyer for assistance.  Low-wage workers can call us for a free consult.   

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