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TITLE XXXVI
STATUTORY ACTIONS AND TORTS
Chapter 535
Landlord-Tenant Actions

If rent be not paid as agreed, landlord may recover possession, how.
In all cases in which lands and tenements are or shall be rented or leased, and default shall be made in the payment of the rents at the time or times agreed upon by the parties, it shall be lawful for the landlord to dispossess the tenant and all subtenants and recover possession of the premises rented or leased, in the manner herein provided.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.010.

Procedure to recover possession--filing of statement--issuance of summons--procedure.
Whenever any rent has become due and payable, and payment has been demanded by the landlord or the landlord's agent from the lessee or person occupying the premises, and payment thereof has not been made, the landlord or agent may file a statement, verified by affidavit, with any associate circuit judge in the county in which the property is situated, setting forth the terms on which such property was rented, and the amount of rent actually due to such landlord; that the rent has been demanded from the tenant, lessee or person occupying the premises, and that payment has not been made, and substantially describing the property rented or leased. In such case, the clerk of the court shall immediately issue a summons directed to such tenant or lessee and to all persons occupying the premises, by name, requiring them to appear before the judge upon a day to be therein named, and show cause why possession of the property should not be restored to the plaintiff. The landlord or agent may, in such an action for unpaid rent, join a claim for any other unpaid sums, other than property damages, regardless of how denominated or defined in the lease, to be paid by or on behalf of a tenant to a landlord for any purpose set forth in the lease; provided that such other sums shall not be considered rent for purposes of this chapter, and judgment for the landlord for recovery of such other sums shall not by itself entitle the landlord to an order for recovery of possession of the premises. The provisions of this section providing for the filing of a statement before an associate circuit judge shall not preclude adoption of a local circuit court rule providing for the centralized filing of such cases, nor the assignment of such cases to particular circuit or associate circuit judges pursuant to local circuit court rule or action by the presiding judge of the circuit. The case shall be heard and determined under the practice and procedure provided in the Missouri rules of civil procedure, except where otherwise provided by this chapter.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.020

Service of summons--court date included in summons.
1. Such summons shall be served as in other civil cases at least four days before the court date in the summons. The summons shall include a court date which shall not be more than twenty-one business days from the date the summons is issued unless at the time of filing the affidavit the plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney consents in writing to a later date.

2. In addition to attempted personal service, the plaintiff may request, and thereupon the judge, before whom the proceeding is commenced, shall make an order directing that the officer, or other person empowered to execute the summons, shall also serve the same by securely affixing a copy of such summons and the complaint in a conspicuous place on the dwelling of the premises in question at least ten days before the court date in such summons, and by also mailing a copy of the summons and complaint to the defendant at the defendant's last known address by ordinary mail and by certified mail, return receipt requested, deliver to addressee only, at least ten days before the court date. If the officer, or other person empowered to execute the summons, shall return that the defendant is not found, or that the defendant has absconded or vacated his usual place of abode in this state, and if proof be made by affidavit of the posting and of the mailing of a copy of the summons and complaint, the judge shall at the request of the plaintiff proceed to hear the case as if there had been personal service, and judgment shall be rendered and proceedings had as in other cases, except that no money judgment shall be granted the plaintiff where the defendant is in default and service is by the posting and mailing procedure set forth in this section.

3. If the plaintiff does not request service of the original summons by posting and mailing as provided in subsection 2 of this section, and if the officer, or other person empowered to execute the summons, makes return that the defendant is not found, or that the defendant has absconded or vacated the defendant's usual place of abode in this state, the plaintiff may request the issuance of an alias summons and service of the same by posting and mailing in the time and manner provided in subsection 2 of this section. In addition, the plaintiff or an agent of the plaintiff who is at least eighteen years of age may serve the summons by posting and mailing a copy of the summons in the time and manner provided in subsection 2 of this section. Upon proof by affidavit of the posting and of the mailing of a copy of the summons or alias summons and the complaint, the judge shall proceed to hear the case as if there had been personal service, and judgment shall be rendered and proceedings had as in other cases, except that no money judgment shall be granted the plaintiff where the defendant is in default and service is by the posting and mailing procedure provided in subsection 2 of this section.

4. On the date judgment is rendered as provided in this section where the defendant is in default, the court shall mail to the defendant at the defendant's last known address by certified mail, with a request for return receipt and with directions to deliver to the addressee only, a notice informing the defendant of the judgment and the date it was entered, and stating that the defendant has ten days from the date of the judgment to file a motion to set aside the judgment or to file an application for a trial de novo in the circuit court, as the case may be, and that unless the judgment is set aside or an application for a trial de novo is filed within ten days, the judgment will become final and the defendant will be subject to eviction from the premises without further notice.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.030.

Upon return of summons, cause to be heard.
Upon the return of the summons executed, the judge shall set the case on the first available court date and shall proceed to hear the cause, and if it shall appear that the rent which is due has been demanded of the tenant, lessee or persons occupying the property, and that payment has not been made, and if the payment of such rent, with all costs, shall not be tendered before the judge, on the hearing of the cause, the judge shall render judgment that the landlord recover the possession of the premises so rented or leased, and also the debt for the amount of the rent then due, with all court costs and shall issue an execution upon such judgment, commanding the officer to put the landlord into immediate possession of the property leased or rented, and to make the debt and costs of the goods and chattels of the defendant. No money judgment shall be granted to the plaintiff if the defendant is in default and service was by the posting procedure provided in section 535.030 unless the defendant otherwise enters an appearance. The officer shall deliver possession of the property to the landlord within five days from the time of receiving the execution, and the officer shall proceed upon the execution to collect the debt and costs, and return the writ, as in the case of other executions. If the plaintiff so elects, the plaintiff may sue for possession alone, without asking for recovery of the rent due. Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.040.

Process shall not issue until expiration of lease, when.
When the property is held by a written lease containing a clause declaring the lease forfeited for the nonpayment of rent for a specified time, no process shall issue against the lessee or other person occupying the premises, until the expiration of said specified time.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.050.

Demand of rent good, when.
Any demand of rent, or rent and possession, by a landlord or the landlord's agent shall be deemed good within the meaning of this or any other statute of this state, when made at any time after the right to rent and possession accrues or the rent becomes due according to the terms of the agreement, whether by written lease or otherwise.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.060.

Purchaser of leased lands may recover possession.
If any person purchases lands or tenements occupied at the time of such purchase by any tenant, lessee or sublessee, who shall, at any time thereafter, fail to pay rent to such purchaser, the person purchasing such property shall have the right, upon such failure, to commence proceedings before an associate circuit judge to recover rent and possession, under the terms of the prior owner's lease, for unpaid rent accruing after the transfer of title. The right to commence proceedings pursuant to this section shall exist regardless of whether the transfer was by private foreclosure, tax or judicial sale, or by any other means. The provisions of chapter 441, RSMo, and this chapter shall apply.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.070.

Rent recovery, successor in title, notice required.
The right of a successor in title to recover rents pursuant to section 535.070 requires adequate and timely notice to the tenant. For the purposes of this section, "adequate and timely notice" means that the purchaser shall notify tenants in writing that title to the property has been transferred, the means of the transfer and the date of the transfer and the notice shall be attached to a copy of the deed which has been recorded.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.081.

Complaint, contents--proof of trial.
It shall be sufficient for such person purchasing lands or tenements to file a complaint, pursuant to section 535.070, verified by affidavit, stating by whom the premises were leased or rented, and the terms of such lease or renting, and how such person claims title to the lands or tenements; and upon the trial of the cause, if the plaintiff shows that the party in possession, or those under whom the party in possession claims, rented or leased from a party claiming title to the premises by deed, and that the plaintiff has acquired the title of the original lessor or landlord, by a deed or deeds, regularly acknowledged, the plaintiff shall be entitled to recover possession and unpaid rent accruing after the transfer and while the tenant was in possession.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.090.

Change of judge and venue same as under chapter 517.
The rights to a change of venue and disqualification of a judge in proceedings under this chapter shall be the same and shall be exercised in the same manner as in proceedings under chapter 517, RSMo.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.100.

Trials de novo and appeals--defendant to furnish bond to stay execution.
Applications for trials de novo and appeals shall be allowed and conducted in the manner provided in chapter 512, RSMo; but no application for a trial de novo or appeal shall stay execution unless the defendant give bond, with security sufficient to secure the payment of all damages, costs and rent then due, and with condition to stay waste and to pay all subsequently accruing rent, if any, into court within ten days after it becomes due, pending determination of the trial de novo or appeal.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.110.

Action brought, when.
Whenever a half year's rent or more is in arrear from a tenant, the landlord, if he has a subsisting right by law to reenter for the nonpayment of such rent, may bring an action to recover the possession of the demised premises. Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.120.

Summons in such action, how served.
If the summons in such action cannot be served in the ordinary mode provided by law, it may be served by affixing a copy of the petition and summons on a conspicuous part of the demised premises, where it may be conveniently read.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.130.

Service shall stand instead of demand.
Service of the complaint and summons in such action shall be a sufficient demand of the rent in arrear, and of a reentry on the demised premises.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.140.

Judgment for recovery of demised premises.
If, upon the trial of such action, it is proved, or, upon judgment by default, it appear to the court, by affidavit, that the plaintiff had a right to commence such action according to the provisions of this chapter, he shall have judgment to recover the possession of the demised premises and costs.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.150.

Tender of rent and costs on judgment date, effect--not bar to landlord's appeal--no stay of execution if no money judgment, exceptions.
If the defendant, on the date any money judgment is given in any action pursuant to this chapter, either tenders to the landlord, or brings into the court where the suit is pending, all the rent then in arrears, and all the costs, further proceedings in the action shall cease and be stayed. If on any date after the date of any original trial but before any trial de novo the defendant shall satisfy such money judgment and pay all costs, any execution for possession of the subject premises shall cease and be stayed; except that the landlord shall not thereby be precluded from making application for appeal from such money judgment. If for any reason no money judgment is entered against the defendant and judgment for the plaintiff is limited only to possession of the subject premises, no stay of execution shall be had, except as provided by the provisions of section 535.110 or the rules of civil procedure or by agreement of the parties.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.160.

Lessee barred from relief, when--appeal permitted, when.
After the execution of any judgment for possession pursuant to this chapter, the lessee and the lessee's assignees, and all other persons deriving title under the lease from such lessee, shall be barred from reentry of such premises and from all relief, and except for error in the record or proceedings, the landlord shall from that day hold the demised premises discharged from the lease. Nothing in this section shall preclude an aggrieved party from perfecting an appeal or securing a trial de novo as to any judgment rendered, and may as a result of such appeal or trial de novo recover any damage incurred, including damages incurred from an unlawful dispossession.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.170.

Reservation in favor of mortgagee of lease in such case.
A mortgagee of such lease, not in possession of such demised premises, who within three months after execution of any such judgment shall pay all rent in arrear, and all costs, and the charges incurred by the landlord, and shall perform all the agreements which ought to be performed by the first lessee, shall not be affected by the recovery of the possession of the demised premises.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.180.

Tenant to be furnished address of person managing property and address to receive notices and service of process--post office box address, procedure--violation, effect.
1. The landlord of residential property or any person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on such landlord's behalf shall disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and address of:
(1) The person authorized to manage the premises; and

(2) An owner of the premises or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and for the purpose of receiving and receipting for notices and demands. If such owner or authorized person has an address which is a post office box, service of process and any notice or demand may be made by mailing a copy of the summons, petition, notice or demand by first-class mail, postage prepaid, together with two copies of such summons, petition, notice or demand pursuant to section 506.150, RSMo.
2. The information required to be furnished by this section shall be kept current and this section extends to and is enforceable against any successor landlord, owner, or manager.

3. A person who fails to comply with subsection 1 of this section becomes an agent of each person who is a landlord for the purpose of:
(1) Service of process and receiving and receipting for notices and demands; and

(2) Performing the obligations of the landlord pursuant to chapter 441, RSMo, or this chapter, or any other obligations under the rental agreement and expending or making himself available for the purposes of collecting all rent due from the premises. Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.185

Landlord-tenant court authorized in City of St. Louis, jurisdiction --landlord-tenant commissioners, powers and qualifications --landlord-tenant court procedures.
1. In the twenty-second judicial circuit, upon adoption of an ordinance by the city of St. Louis providing for expenditure of city funds for such purpose, a majority of the circuit judges, en banc, may establish a landlord-tenant court, which shall be a division of the circuit court, and may authorize the appointment of not more than two landlord- tenant court commissioners. The landlord-tenant court commissioners shall be appointed by a landlord-tenant court judicial commission consisting of the presiding judge of the circuit, who shall be the chair, one circuit judge elected by the circuit judges, one associate circuit judge elected by the associate circuit judges of the circuit, and two members appointed by the mayor of the city of St. Louis, each of whom shall represent one of the two political parties casting the highest number of votes at the next preceding gubernatorial election. The procedures and operations of the landlord-tenant court judicial commission shall be established by circuit court rule.

2. Landlord-tenant commissioners may be authorized to hear in the first instance disputes involving landlords and their tenants. Landlord- tenant commissioners shall be authorized to make findings of fact and conclusions of law, and to issue orders for the payment of money, for the giving or taking of possession of residential property and any other equitable relief necessary to resolve disputes governed by the laws in chapters 441, 524, 534, RSMo, and this chapter. Landlord-tenant commissioners may not, by ex parte means, hear cases and issue orders.

3. Landlord-tenant commissioners shall be licensed to practice law in this state and shall serve at the pleasure of a majority of the circuit and associate circuit judges, en banc, and shall be residents of the city of St. Louis, and shall receive as annual compensation an amount equal to one- third of the annual compensation of an associate circuit judge. Landlord- tenant commissioners shall not accept or handle cases in their practice of law which are inconsistent with their duties as a landlord-tenant commissioner and shall not be a judge or prosecutor for any other court. Landlord-tenant commissioners shall not be considered state employees and shall not be members of the state employees' or judicial retirement system or be eligible to receive any other employment benefit accorded state employees or judges.

4. A majority of the judges of the circuit, en banc, shall establish operating procedures for the landlord-tenant court. Proceedings in the landlord-tenant court shall be conducted as in cases tried before an associate circuit judge. The hearing shall be before a landlord-tenant commissioner without jury, and the commissioner shall assume an affirmative duty to determine the merits of the evidence presented and the defenses of the defendant and may question parties and witnesses. Clerks and computer personnel shall be assigned as needed for the efficient operation of the court.

5. The parties to a cause of action before a commissioner of the landlord-tenant court are entitled to file with the court a motion for a hearing in associate circuit court within ten days after the mailing, or within ten days after service.

6. Operating procedures shall be provided for electronic recording of proceedings at city expense. Any person aggrieved by a judgment in a case decided under this section shall have a right to a trial de novo in circuit court, or an appeal to the appropriate appellate court, in the same manner as would a person aggrieved by a decision of an associate circuit judge under section 535.110. The procedures for perfecting the right of a trial de novo or appeal shall be the same as that provided pursuant to sections 512.180 to 512.320, RSMo.

7. Any summons issued for the proceedings in the landlord-tenant court shall have a return date of ten days. The sheriff must attempt to serve any summons within four days of the date of issuance.

8. All costs to establish and operate a landlord-tenant court under this section shall be borne by the city of St. Louis.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.200

Landlord-tenant court authorized in Jackson County, jurisdiction --landlord-tenant commissioners, powers and qualifications--landlord-tenant court procedures.
1. In the sixteenth judicial circuit, upon adoption of an ordinance by Jackson County providing for expenditure of county funds for such purpose, a majority of the circuit court judges, en banc, may establish a landlord-tenant court, which shall be a division of the circuit court, and may authorize the appointment of not more than two landlord- tenant court commissioners. The landlord-tenant court commissioners shall be appointed by a landlord-tenant court judicial commission consisting of the presiding judge of the circuit, who shall be the chair, one circuit judge elected by the circuit judges, one associate circuit judge elected by the associate circuit judges of the circuit, and two members appointed by the county executive of Jackson County, each of whom shall represent one of the two political parties casting the highest number of votes at the next preceding gubernatorial election. The procedures and operations of the landlord-tenant court judicial commission shall be established by circuit court rule.

2. Landlord-tenant commissioners may be authorized to hear in the first instance disputes involving landlords and their tenants. Landlord- tenant commissioners shall be authorized to make findings of fact and conclusions of law, and to issue orders for the payment of money, for the giving or taking of possession of residential property and any other equitable relief necessary to resolve disputes governed by the laws in chapters 441, 524, 534, RSMo, and this chapter. Landlord-tenant commissioners may not, by ex parte means, hear cases and issue orders.

3. Landlord-tenant commissioners shall be licensed to practice law in this state and shall serve at the pleasure of a majority of the circuit and associate circuit judges, en banc, and shall be residents of Jackson County, and shall receive as annual compensation an amount equal to one- third of the annual compensation of an associate circuit judge. Landlord- tenant commissioners shall not accept or handle cases in their practice of law which are inconsistent with their duties as a landlord-tenant commissioner and shall not be a judge or prosecutor for any other court. Landlord-tenant commissioners shall not be considered state employees and shall not be members of the state employees' or judicial retirement system or be eligible to receive any other employment benefit accorded state employees or judges.

4. A majority of the judges of the circuit court, en banc, shall establish operating procedures for the landlord-tenant court. Proceedings in the landlord-tenant court, shall be conducted as in cases tried before an associate circuit judge. The hearing shall be before a landlord-tenant commissioner without jury, and the commissioner shall assume an affirmative duty to determine the merits of the evidence presented and the defenses of the defendant and may question parties and witnesses. Clerks and computer personnel shall be assigned as needed for the efficient operation of the court.

5. The parties to a cause of action before a commissioner of the landlord-tenant court are entitled to file with the court a motion for a hearing in associate circuit court within ten days after the mailing, or within ten days after service.

6. Operating procedures shall be provided for electronic recording of proceedings at county expense. Any person aggrieved by a judgment in a case decided under this section shall have a right to a trial de novo in circuit court, or an appeal to the appropriate appellate court, in the same manner as would a person aggrieved by a decision of an associate circuit judge under section 535.110. The procedures for perfecting the right of a trial de novo or appeal shall be the same as that provided pursuant to sections 512.180 to 512.320, RSMo.

7. Any summons issued for the proceedings in the landlord-tenant court shall have a return date of ten days from the date of service. The sheriff must attempt to serve any summons within four days of the date of issuance.

8. All costs to establish and operate a landlord-tenant court under this section shall be borne by Jackson County.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.210.

Security deposits, limitation--return of deposit or notice of damages, when--withholding deposit, when--tenant's right to damages--security deposit defined.
1. A landlord may not demand or receive a security deposit in excess of two months' rent.

2. Within thirty days after the date of termination of the tenancy, the landlord shall:
(1) Return the full amount of the security deposit; or

(2) Furnish to the tenant a written itemized list of the damages for which the security deposit or any portion thereof is withheld, along with the balance of the security deposit. The landlord shall have complied with this subsection by mailing such statement and any payment to the last known address of the tenant.
3. The landlord may withhold from the security deposit only such amounts as are reasonably necessary for the following reasons:
(1) To remedy a tenant's default in the payment of rent due to the landlord, pursuant to the rental agreement;

(2) To restore the dwelling unit to its condition at the commencement of the tenancy, ordinary wear and tear excepted; or

(3) To compensate the landlord for actual damages sustained as a result of the tenant's failure to give adequate notice to terminate the tenancy pursuant to law or the rental agreement; provided that the landlord makes reasonable efforts to mitigate damages.
4. The landlord shall give the tenant or his representative reasonable notice in writing at his last known address or in person of the date and time when the landlord will inspect the dwelling unit following the termination of the rental agreement to determine the amount of the security deposit to be withheld, and the inspection shall be held at a reasonable time. The tenant shall have the right to be present at the inspection of the dwelling unit at the time and date scheduled by the landlord.

5. If the landlord wrongfully withholds all or any portion of the security deposit in violation of this section, the tenant shall recover as damages not more than twice the amount wrongfully withheld.

6. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the right of the landlord to recover actual damages in excess of the security deposit, or to permit a tenant to apply or deduct any portion of the security deposit at any time in lieu of payment of rent.

7. As used in this section, the term "security deposit" means any deposit of money or property, however denominated, which is furnished by a tenant to a landlord to secure the performance of any part of the rental agreement, including damages to the dwelling unit. This term does not include any money or property denominated as a deposit for a pet on the premises.  Title 36, Chap. 535, 535.300. 1.                        

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