8 Basics of Missouri's Security Deposit Law

The Rights of Landlords and Tenants

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Missouri landlords have the right to collect security deposits from their tenants, but they also have the obligation of understanding the laws for collecting these deposits. It is equally important for Missouri tenants to understand these rules so that they can receive their security deposit back in full. Learn eight basic security deposit rights landlords and tenants have in Missouri.

8 Questions About Security Deposits in Missouri

  1. Security Deposit Limit- Two Months' Rent
  2. Nonrefundable Deposit- Not Allowed
  3. Reasons to Keep Deposit- Apartment Damage, Unpaid Rent, Other Lease Breaches
  4. Timeline to Return Deposit- 30 Days From Move Out
  5. Interest- Not Required to Earn Interest
  6. Written Notice After Receipt- Not Required
  7. Walk-Through Inspection- Required
  8. Selling Property- Return to Tenant or Transfer to New Owner

1. Missouri Security Deposit Limit

In the state of Missouri, a landlord can charge a tenant a maximum of two months’ rent as a security deposit. This deposit should be collected prior to tenant move in.

2. Can Security Deposit Be Nonrefundable?

No. Security deposits in the state of Missouri are the tenant’s property. The security deposit must be returned to the tenant at the end of the lease agreement. Missouri landlords are allowed to take lawful deductions from the security deposit.

3. Reasons You Can Keep a Tenant’s Security Deposit in Missouri

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.

4. Time Frame for Returning Security Deposit in Missouri

In Missouri, a landlord has 30 days after a tenant’s move out to:

  • Return a tenant’s entire security deposit if no deductions have been made.
  • If deductions have been made, 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.
  • The landlord must mail these items to the last known address of the tenant.

5. Do Security Deposits Have to Earn Interest in Missouri?

In the state of Missouri, there are no particular requirements for how you must store a tenant’s security deposit. There is nothing in the law that states you must deposit it in a bank or financial institution. In addition, if the deposit is placed in an account in a financial institution, there is no obligation that the account must earn interest.

6. Is Written Notice Required After Collecting Deposit?

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

7. Walk-Through Inspections 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 what deductions the landlord will make 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.”

8. Transferring Security Deposit When You Sell 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 the law that governs security deposits in the state of Missouri, please consult Missouri Revised Statutes § 535.300.