How to Evict Someone in Missouri

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Missouri has two processes to evict a tenant. The one you choose depends on what he has done to warrant removal from your property, but both processes are similar. Under Chapter 535 of Missouri's Revised Statutes, you can only evict a tenant who has an active lease with you if he does not pay rent, damages your real estate or violates the lease's terms by performing an illegal act on the premises or allowing someone else to do so. If his lease has expired and he remains in the property against your wishes, called an "unlawful detainer," you can take steps to evict him for this reason alone.

Serve the tenant with an eviction notice by certified mail and save the receipt. If your lawsuit is for nonpayment of rent, there's no waiting period after you give your tenant the notice. However, if you are breaking the lease for any other reason, you must wait 30 days after the day his next rent payment is due to do anything more.

Go to the circuit court that serves your city or town after your waiting period has expired. Tell the clerk of court that you want to file either a rent and possession suit if your tenant owes you rent, or an unlawful detainer suit if he has remained in the property without a lease against your wishes. Inquire about what fees are associated with filing a lawsuit. The clerk will prepare a summons, advising your tenant that you have filed the lawsuit and when he should appear in court to defend against it. The county sheriff will deliver the summons to your tenant.

Appear in court on the scheduled day and time. If your tenant does not appear, you win the lawsuit by default and the judge will award you your rent and issue an order allowing you to evict him from the property. If your tenant does appear, be prepared to prove your case to the judge. If the tenant has done something unlawful on your property, take witnesses to court to testify to that. If you have repeatedly sent him letters asking for rent, take copies with you. If you file an unlawful detainer lawsuit, take a copy of the lease to show that it has expired. Take your copy of the eviction notice and the mail receipt.

Wait 10 days after your court appearance. The tenant has the right to appeal the judge's decision if you win your case. He is allowed to stay in your property until this 10-day period expires. If he does file an appeal and wants to stay until it is heard by a court, the judge will require him to post a bond equal to the amount of the judgment.

Contact the sheriff in your county after the 10-day waiting period expires and if the tenant has not filed an appeal. Supply the sheriff with a copy of your eviction order. He will post a notice on your property, telling your tenant when he will return to take possession of the property. This action may require an additional fee; check with the local sheriff's office or court. You are responsible for removing any of the tenant's property that may be left behind.

Warnings

  • The eviction notice must conform to Missouri law. If you make a mistake, you may have to start the process all over again, so check with the court clerk to make sure yours meets all requirements before you serve it.

References

About the Author

Beverly Bird is a practicing paralegal who has been writing professionally on legal subjects for over 30 years. She specializes in family law and estate law and has mediated family custody issues.

Photo Credits

  • Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images News/Getty Images