April 27, 2012
The Keys to Landlord-Tenant Relationships
The landlord-tenant relationship can be complex at best and downright antagonistic at worst. In an ideal landlord-tenant relationship, expectations and requirements are laid out for both parties, who proceed to treat the agreement with respect. If you’re looking into become a landlord or if you are one already, here are some things to keep in mind when operating on a non-lease basis.
Preventing Tenant Problems
The best solution to problem is to prevent them in the first place. Here are few keys to get the landlord-tenant relationship off on the right foot.
Put Everything in Writing
This is the No. 1 must-do item for landlords. Don’t rely on verbal arrangements. A written agreement ensures all terms are understood and agreed to by both parties. An experienced attorney can help you draft this document.
Communicate With Your Tenants
While your relationship with your tenants is a business one, that doesn’t mean it can’t and shouldn’t be friendly. If your tenants respect you—and vice versa—problems are less likely to pop up. Respond promptly to any communication, and try to learn a little something about your tenants. Your tenants are people, after all.
Give Your Tenants The Info They Need
Provide your tenants with information on how to make general inquiries, file complaints and make maintenance requests. Offering this information up front builds trust with your tenants and reassures them that you’re invested in their living premises.
Dealing With Tenant Issues
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you’re going to run into problems with a tenant. If you’ve exhausted all your options and consider the landlord-tenant relationship to be broken, here’s what to do.
Grounds for Eviction
In Missouri, the following are grounds for eviction:
- Damage to property
- Failure to pay rent
- Violation of the terms of the lease
- Injury to the landlord or another tenant
- Drug-related criminal activity on the premises
- Failure to vacate at the end of the lease term
- Illegal gambling on the property
The Goal is Recovery
Your main goal is the recovery of possession and rent. Don’t make it personal. Just focus on getting your property and the money that’s due.
The Eviction Process
In Missouri, the eviction process is relatively simple. For failure to pay rent, you’re required to do the following:
- Make a demand for rent.
- If the tenant does not pay, file a Rent & Possession suit at your local circuit court.
At that point, the tenant will be served with a notice that an eviction lawsuit has been filed and will have the opportunity to be heard in court. If the judgment is obtained, it will be final within 10 days if not appealed. If the tenant does not move out of his or her own free will, the county will evict. Self-eviction, such as shutting off a tenant’s utilities or removing possessions from the home, is illegal.
Get Help From a Landlord Tenant Attorney
If you find yourself facing evicting a tenant, it’s a good idea to hire an experienced Missouri landlord tenant attorney. It is possible to recover court costs and attorney fees via garnishment, so there’s every reason to hire an attorney to help you. Dan Miller Law provides strategic, informed advocacy on behalf of landlord clients and can help you with drafting lease agreements, filing petitions and aggressively seeking garnishment for damages and rent. For more information, give us a call at (816) 875-9300 or fill out our simple-to-use web form.