Missouri Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. Landlords must provide access to essential services, including heat, electricity, plumbing, water, and keep floors, ceilings, windows, and locks in good repair (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make and pay for repairs for items under their responsibility. They must do so within 14 days after receiving a written request from tenants (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenant can’t withhold rent, but does have right to repair and deduct, report the issue to a public official or file a lawsuit (read more).
  • Retaliation. There are no laws in Missouri prohibiting landlords from retaliating to tenants for exercising their legal rights (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in Missouri does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are & aren’t included.

Dwelling TypeLandlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single familyYes
Multi-familyYes
Fraternities/Sororities/ClubsNot addressed
RV parksYes
Mobile home parksOnly if person in mobile home is a renter, not owner.
CondosNot addressed
Hotels/MotelsNo

Landlord Responsibilities

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Missouri, as indicated below.

Note: some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability IssueLandlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair.Not addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks.Not addressed
Provide hot and cold running water.Not addressed
Provide working HVAC equipment.Not addressed
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting.Not addressed
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cookingNot addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet).Not addressed
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services).Not addressed
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe.Not addressed
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe.Not addressed
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean.Not addressed
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials.Not addressed
Provide working smoke detectorsNot addressed
Provide a mailbox.Not addressed
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack.Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances.Not addressed
Provide working carbon monoxide detector.Not addressed
Provide a working washer/dryer.Not addressed

As you can see, Missouri state law doesn’t lay out specific landlord responsibilities.

However, landlords are required to comply with all housing codes, so you should check with the municipality in which the rental property is located to determine what specific responsibilities landlords may have regarding habitability.

Meth Houses

Landlords are required to disclose in writing to potential tenants that a rental property was used in the production of methamphetamines, regardless of whether the suspects were formally sentenced.

Making Repairs

Missouri’s rent and repair statute provides tenants with a limited right to compel repairs from the landlord.

  • Sending notice – If a tenant request repairs, they must put their request in writing to the landlord. The landlord is given 14 days to respond and make repairs.
  • Landlord access – Tenants are not required to give the landlord access to the property under Missouri law unless it is written into the lease agreement.

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. Withhold rent – Missouri landlord tenant law does not allow tenants in Missouri to withhold rent in response to habitability issues.
  2. Repair and deduct – The tenant can pay for the repair and deduct from rent if the landlord fails to make necessary repairs. The cost must not exceed the greater of $300 or one-half of one month’s rent. This remedy is only applicable once in a 12-month period.
  3. Lawsuit – If a landlord intentionally or negligently fails to provide heat, water, electricity, and/or other “essentials,” tenants are allowed to pursue legal action.
  4. Reporting to Public Officials – If the unit becomes unsafe due to the repair problems, the tenant can contact local health or housing authorities.

Landlord Retaliation

Missouri does not have any state laws prohibiting landlords from retaliating against tenants for act within legal rights

Sources