Tenants' Security Deposit Rights in Missouri
Limits, Return and Move-Out Inspections
Landlords are not required to collect a security deposit in Missouri, but they have the right to collect one. Landlords must follow certain rules when collecting this deposit, as well as when storing and returning the deposit to the tenant. Tenants must understand their security deposit rights, especially reasons deductions can be taken from the security deposit. Here are the basics of Missouri’s security deposit law.
Maximum Security Deposit Amount
Missouri landlords are allowed to collect a maximum of two months' rent from the tenant as a security deposit. For example, if the monthly rent is $1,000, a landlord can collect up to $2,000 as a security deposit. This deposit should be collected prior to tenant move in.
Are Nonrefundable Deposits Allowed?
It is illegal in Missouri for a landlord to try to charge a nonrefundable security deposit. Security deposits are always the property of the tenant in Missouri and must be returned to the tenant at the end of the lease agreement.
Missouri landlords do have the right to take lawful deductions from the security deposit.Lawful reasons to take deductions are included in Missouri's landlord tenant law.
Lawful Reasons Deductions Can Be Made
While the security deposit is the property of the tenant, if the tenant breaks the rules, a landlord may have the right to deduct money from this deposit. Under Missouri's landlord tenant law, a landlord may keep all, or a portion of, a tenant’s security deposit for the following reasons:
- To Cover Unpaid Rent
- For Damages in Excess of Normal Wear and Tear
- For Other Breaches to the Lease Agreement
Landlords can face legal action if they do not return the security deposit amount that is owed back to the tenant. If a landlord wrongfully withholds a tenant’s security deposit, the tenant may be entitled to up to two times the amount wrongfully withheld.
30 Days to Return Deposit in Missouri
Once a tenant moves out of a rental, a landlord has 30 days to return the tenant's security deposit.
- If no deductions have been made from the deposit, the landlord must return the tenant’s entire security deposit within this 30 day window.
- If deductions have been made from the deposit, the landlord must include a written itemized list of any deductions to the deposit. Any portion of the security deposit that is due to the tenant after these deductions must also be included.This must be returned within the 30 day window.
Where to Send the Deposit:
- The landlord must mail these items to the last known address of the tenant.
Are Deposits Required to Earn Interest in Missouri?
Landlords in Missouri do not have to store tenants' security deposit according to any specific guidelines. The law does not require deposits to be placed in a bank or financial institution. Ff the deposit is placed in an account in a financial institution, the deposit does not have to earn interest.
Do Landlords Have to Provide a Security Deposit Receipt?
A landlord does not have to notify a tenant in writing after receiving the tenant’s security deposit. The landlord has no obligation to notify the tenant of how and where the landlord is storing the tenant’s security deposit.
Although it is not required by law, it is always a good idea to have a security deposit clause in your lease agreement. This clause can include:
- Security Deposit Rules- Including Reasons for Deductions and Procedures for Return
- Date Security Deposit Was Collected
- Amount of Security Deposit Collected
Walk-Through Inspections Required After Tenant Move-Out
A Missouri landlord must perform a walk-through inspection after the tenant moves out of the unit. This inspection is done to determine damage to the unit and if deductions will be taken from the security deposit for such damage.
The tenant has a right to be present at this walk-through inspection. The landlord must notify the tenant in writing, or in person, of the date and time of this inspection. According to the law, the inspection must be held at a “reasonable time.”
Security Deposit Transfer When Selling Property in Missouri
If a landlord in the state of Missouri sells his or her property, the landlord must either return the security deposit to the tenant or must transfer all tenants’ security deposits to the new owner. The landlord or the new owner of the investment property must notify tenants in writing that the property has been sold.
What Is Missouri's Security Deposit Law?
If you are interested in reading the text of Missouri's security deposit law, please see Missouri Revised Statutes § 535.300.