Missouri Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Missouri Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Last Updated: May 16, 2023

In general, a landlord in Missouri has to repair any issues with rental property that could affect health, safety, or habitability. The landlord must make a good-faith effort to repair issues within a “reasonable time” of getting written notice from the renter, which for most code issues is 14 days.

Missouri Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs

Landlords in Missouri must specifically maintain:

  • Provided electric, gas, water, and sewer service.
  • All features required by local code.
  • Common areas.
  • Anything impacting health, safety, or habitability.

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What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Missouri?

Tenants in Missouri are responsible for repairing any damage they cause which affects health and safety. In most cases, tenants are also responsible for any damage that doesn’t seriously impact habitability. Especially at the beginning of a lease, tenants may even be de facto responsible for some code compliance.

Requesting Repairs in Missouri

Missouri tenants have to request repairs by giving the landlord “reasonable” notice of an issue, which could be verbal or written. However, written notice is preferable, as it is required for the statutory repair and deduct remedy and also helps prove timing and contents of a repair notice in general.

Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in Missouri?

Missouri landlords can refuse to make otherwise legally required repairs, when the tenant is behind on rent or otherwise breaking the terms of the lease within the first six months of the tenancy. The landlord can also sometimes refuse repairs until the local government certifies they’re necessary.

How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in Missouri?

Missouri landlords have to make repairs within a “reasonable” time after notice. To avoid the renter repairing and deducting the cost from rent, this means repairs must in most cases be complete within 14 days.

Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in Missouri?

Missouri landlords are not required to pay for alternative accommodation during repairs.

Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Missouri

Missouri tenants have limited rights if the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs. They can follow a procedure to repair and deduct for lesser repairs. For major repairs, they can withhold rent (usually by paying into rent escrow) or in some severe cases claim constructive eviction and move out.

Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in Missouri?

Missouri tenants can withhold rent when the landlord doesn’t do required repairs after reasonable notice. Although not an absolute requirement, to withhold rent the tenant must typically use what’s called rent escrow by applying to pay the rent into a special court-supervised account instead of to the landlord.

Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in Missouri?

Missouri tenants can repair and deduct by following a special procedure. First, the tenant must reside at the property for six months without any uncured violations of the lease or property rules. After this, the tenant can ask in writing for repairs to code issues, and wait 14 days.

If the landlord hasn’t fixed the issue, the tenant can then repair, submit an itemized statement of costs including receipts, and deduct the actual and reasonable cost (up to the greater of $300 or half the monthly rent). The maximum deduction in one year is one month’s rent.

The landlord can, in writing, dispute the need for repairs, in which case the tenant can’t repair and deduct until the local government certifies they’re necessary.

Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in Missouri?

Missouri tenants can break leases by claiming constructive eviction. This remedy is only available when the landlord’s wrongful actions or negligence substantially prevent the rental property from being used for its basic intended purposes. In these severe cases, the tenant can move out and end the lease.

Can the Tenant Sue in Missouri?

Missouri tenants can sue to force repairs or recover monetary damages, when the landlord breaches the warranty of habitability.

Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in Missouri?

Missouri tenants can report landlords for code violations that affect health or safety. Tenants should usually report to the local inspections or code enforcement department. If an inspecting officer finds a violation, the tenant could cancel the rental agreement, or sue to force repairs.

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Landlord Retaliation in Missouri

Missouri law isn’t clear on the extent to which landlords are allowed to retaliate against tenants. Missouri courts recognize retaliatory eviction as a defense, but haven’t provided guidance on what factors weigh toward or against finding retaliation. Retaliatory eviction also isn’t available as a defense in most eviction cases.

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