Most residential leases and rental agreements in Missouri require a security deposit. This is a dollar amount, usually one month's rent, that's intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear, and to cushion the financial blow if a tenant skips out early on the lease without paying. Here’s a summary of Missouri landlord-tenant laws that cover the use and return of security deposits.
Does Missouri law limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit?
Yes. Under Missouri landlord-tenant laws, a landlord may charge a tenant the equivalent of two months' rent for the security deposit.
To learn more about steps that tenants can take to protect their security deposit after they've paid it, check out Nolo's article Protect Your Security Deposit When You Move In.
What about when a tenant moves out? What is the deadline in Missouri for returning a security deposit?
Under Missouri law, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit within 30 days after the tenant has moved out.
Learn more about tenants' rights and landlords' obligations when it comes to the return of the security deposit in Nolo's chart Cleaning and Repairs a Landlord Can Deduct from a Security Deposit and Nolo's article Get Your Security Deposit Back.
Is there additional information that Missouri landlords must provide to tenants when it comes to security deposits in Missouri?
Not at the state level in Missouri. But be sure to check your local (county, city, or town) laws to see if your municipality requires landlords to take additional steps when it comes to tenants' security deposits.
Where can I look up Missouri law on security deposits?
If you want to go right to the source and look up Missouri law on security deposits -- or if you're writing a letter to your landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at Missouri Annotated Statutes § 535.300. Your city or county might have different landlord-tenant and security deposit laws than those at the state level in Missouri. For tips on looking up Missouri state and local laws, check out Nolo's State Laws & Legal Research section.
You may also find useful information in the tenant guide available at http://ago.mo.gov/publications/landlordtenant.pdf.