Missouri Rent and Possession Basics

Under Missouri Law, a rent and possession case is applicable when the tenant doesn’t pay rent on time.  The eviction lawsuit must be brought in the county where the rental property is located.

Pleading

The rent and possession pleading must set forth several elements.  Once filed, the clerk issues a summons setting the court date.

If served by personal service, the summons must be served at least four days before the court date on the summons.

Service

If served by posting the summons and petition must be posted at the residence, and a copy must be mailed to the defendant by certified and ordinary mail.  If the service is by posting, the judge may not be inclined to award damages, but rather might just award possession.

Default Judgment

If the tenant doesn’t show up, notice of the default judgment must be mailed to the tenant by certified mail, return receipt requested.  That notice includes (1) the date judgment was entered; (2) explanation that the defendant has 10 days to file a motion to set aside the judgment or request a trial de novo; (3) verbage indicating that the judgment becomes final in 10 days; (4) a warning that once the judgment is final the defendant will be subject to eviction without further notice.

Sheriff Delivers Possession

Within five days of receipt of the writ of execution, the sheriff shall deliver possession of the property.  The sheriff shall also attempt to collect the debt and costs, and return the writ.

Forfeiture Language in the Lease

If there is special language in the lease that states the amount of time when the lease is forfeited for nonpayment of rent, the court will not issue a summons until that time lapses.

Tenant Fighting Back

A tenant who requests a trial will not stop execution unless they post a bond to secure the payment of all damages, costs, and rent then due.  They must also pay future rent while the action is pending as it becomes due within 10 days of the due date.

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