Tenant Law in Missouri
Relations between tenants and landlords in Pacific, Missouri can occasionally be touchy. The fact is that it's not easy to be a landlord or a tenant, particularly because landlords and tenants often don't understand the legal rights and responsibilities that apply to them.
Both parties to a landlord/tenant relationship are controlled by an extensive body of laws and regulations, defining their legal rights and obligations.
Landlord's Rights in Pacific, MO
Most obviously, landlords have a right to collect rent from their tenants. When a tenant agrees to pay a landlord a certain amount of money for the right to occupy the landlord's property, a contract is formed. Tenants have to hold up their end of the deal.
Furthermore, landlords can bill the tenant for any damage they cause to the unit, whether it was intentional or negligent. The costs of repairs for such damage can be deducted from a tenant's security deposit, but it should be noted that tenants aren't liable for ordinary wear and tear, over which they have little control.
Tenant's Rights in Pacific, MO
At the most basic level, tenants have a basic right to what they're paying for: a habitable living environment. Therefore, landlords in Pacific, Missouri must ensure that the units they rent to tenants meet some basic standards for human habitation. These requirements vary from state to state, but are often fairly easy to meet. There are no legal requirements that rented units be pretty, particularly spacious, or luxurious. They simply have to be fit for human beings to live in them. To be considered "habitable," rented units must have water, electricity, some form of heating (if the local climate necessitates it), and adequate protection from the elements (proper insulation, no roof leaks, windows that close, etc.).
Tenants also have a right to ensure that the common areas of their apartment building are reasonably safe. Landlords are required to make sure that the common areas of their buildings meet Pacific, Missouri's building codes, and that there are no conditions that create unnecessary safety hazards. They are obligated to make, at their own expense, the necessary repairs.
Under federal and Missouri law, tenants are also entitled to protection against discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, marital status, or gender. Such discrimination can lead to grave civil penalties against the landlord. Landlords also cannot discriminate against tenants based on physical disability, and have to make reasonable accommodations for physically disabled tenants. For instance, they have to allow disabled tenants to make minor physical alterations to the unit (at the tenant's expense) to make it more accessible. Now, they don't need to allow the tenants to have the building remodeled. We're just talking about things like installing handrails in the bathroom, and similar things. The landlord can, however, require tenants to restore the apartment to its original condition, at the tenant's expense, once the tenant leaves.
Tenants are also legally safeguarded from unfair eviction. Before a lease agreement expires, landlords cannot evict tenants unless they breach as significant term of the agreement by not paying rent, causing serious damage to the property, engaging in activities that are a nuisance to the other tenants, or engaging in illegal activity on the property, among other things.
Can a Pacific, Missouri Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Tenants and landlords always want to avoid getting into any serious disputes - these disputes interfere with the tenant's living arrangement, and the landlord's business. In short, they help nobody. While a good Pacific, Missouri attorney can definately help his or her client prevail in such a dispute, they may be more essential for their ability to help prevent such disputes from escalating in the first place.