A Missouri eviction notice is a pre-trial letter notifying tenants that they may be evicted as they’ve failed to uphold their rental obligations or for remaining on the property after the expiration of their term. Tenants who violate the conditions of the lease or landlord-tenant law are given ten (10) days to either remedy the issue or leave the premises. More severe violations will permit the landlord to terminate the tenancy without notice.
When evicting for the non-payment of rent, the landlord will deliver a notice demanding payment of the overdue amount. Should the tenant willfully or negligently fail to comply with the notice terms, the landlord can file an eviction action to reclaim possession of the property.
Notice to Quit for Non-Payment – This notice is served on a tenant to demand unpaid rent. The landlord can file a rent and possession action (a.k.a. eviction lawsuit) immediately after the demand for payment is made.
10-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance – An eviction notice that instructs tenants to cure a lease violation (if curable) or vacate the premises within ten (10) days after the notice is received.
10-Day Notice to Quit for Illegal Activity – Informs a tenant that they have committed or allowed illegal acts on the premises and that they must vacate in ten (10) days.
Immediate/5-Day Notice to Quit for Severe Illegal Activity – Notifies a tenant or other occupant that they have severely violated the law and that they are required to vacate. Tenants must vacate immediately after receiving notice. However, if the violation was committed by someone other than the tenant, the tenant is given five (5) days’ notice to vacate.
1-Month Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Lease – Allows a landlord or tenant to terminate a periodic rental agreement that renews on a month-to-month basis. The terminating party must provide at least one (1) month’s notice.
- Grace Period (§ 535-010): None
- Non Payment of Rent (§ 535.010): No Notice Required
- Lease Non-Compliance (§ 441.030 & 441.040): Ten (10) Days
- Illegal Activity (§ 441.020 & 441.040): Ten (10) Days
- Severe Illegal Activity (§ 441.740, 441.750, & 441.780): No Notice Required/Five (5) Days
- Periodic Tenancy Termination (§ 441.060(4)(1)): One (1) Month
If a landlord seeks to evict a tenant from a rental unit, they must file an eviction lawsuit with the circuit court where the property resides. Missouri has three (3) different types of eviction lawsuits: rent and possession, unlawful detainer, and emergency eviction (a.k.a., expedited eviction). The type of lawsuit filed by the landlord must coincide with the cause for eviction.
Step 1 – Draft an Eviction Notice
The landlord must notify the tenant of their intention to file an eviction lawsuit by serving them with a letter known as a “notice to quit.” If the eviction is for the non-payment of rent, the notice can be given either orally or in writing. If the eviction is for any other reason, the notice can only be delivered in writing. Landlords must download and prepare one (1) of the eviction notices provided below.
- Notice to Quit for Non-Payment
- 10-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
- 10-Day Notice to Quit for Illegal Activity
- Immediate/5-Day Notice to Quit for Severe Illegal Activity
- 1-Month Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Lease
Step 2 – Serve Notice to Quit
After drafting the notice to quit, the landlord should make several copies before serving it on the tenant. Accepted forms of service vary depending on the rules of the court and conditions of the lease, although personal-delivery to the tenant is the most widely accepted method of service. Landlords should verify the service requirements of their jurisdiction by contacting a clerk of the circuit court.
Step 3 – File Eviction Lawsuit
Tenants will be obligated to fulfill the notice requirements before the notice period expires (no notice period is granted if evicting for non-payment). Should the tenant fail to comply with the notice terms, the landlord must file a Petition with the circuit court where the rental unit is located. The type of Petition filed will vary depending on whether the lawsuit is a rent and possession action (for non-payment), unlawful detainer (for lease violations and illegal activity), or emergency eviction (for severe illegal activity or threat of danger). A Verification of Petition must be filed alongside the landlord’s Petition. The landlord will be charged a filing fee when submitting their paperwork.
Note: There are no state-wide eviction documents. Landlords should speak with a clerk of the circuit court to determine where the required paperwork can be obtained.
Step 4 – Summons
After the Petition is filed, the court will schedule a hearing date and provide the landlord with a Summons. The Summons will relay the lawsuit details to the tenant and provide instructions about how they must respond to defend their case.
Step 5 – Serve Summons
The landlord must arrange to have the Summons and Petition served on the tenant by a court-appointed process server or the sheriff’s department (a fee will be required for this service). If served by a process server, the landlord must file a Motion for Order to Serve or Post (see sample). At least four (4) days before the hearing date, the paperwork must be served on the tenant, a member of the tenant’s family, or an occupant over the age of fifteen (15). If personal service is not possible, the documents must be posted to the premises and sent by certified mail no less than (10) days before the hearing date. Monetary damages will not be awarded if service is made by posting and certified mail. Following service, the tenant will need to submit to the court an Answer stating whether they agree with or deny the landlord’s allegations.
Step 6 – Eviction Hearing
The landlord and tenant will need to visit the courthouse on the date and time specified in the Summons. If the tenant fails to appear in court, or if the tenant appears in court but doesn’t dispute the landlord’s allegations, a judgment will be made in favor of the landlord. However, if the tenant appears in court and denies the allegations, a trial will be set to resolve the matter.
Step 7 – Trial Date
Before the eviction trial, the landlord should prepare by gathering copies of the lease, payment ledgers, receipts, and photographs. All witnesses should be contacted and made available for the trial date. During the trial, the cases presented by both parties will be examined by a judge and a verdict will be made. If the tenant wins the lawsuit, they will be permitted to stay. If the landlord is successful, the court will deliver a notice to the tenant demanding that they vacate the premises.
Step 8 – Enforce Eviction Judgment
Should the tenant fail to move out after receiving notification to vacate, the landlord must purchase an Execution for Possession (a.k.a., Writ of Restitution) ordering the sheriff to remove the tenant. The Execution for Possession can be enforced immediately if the tenant did not contest the landlord’s allegations. However, if the eviction judgment was made as a consequence of a trial, the Execution for Possession may not be enforced until ten (10) full days have passed after entry of the judgment. The delay of enforcement allows the tenant time to appeal the court’s decision or request a new trial. After ten (10) days pass, the landlord must contact the sheriff’s department to schedule a time to visit the tenant at the rental unit and evict them from the property.
- Signing: Landlord
- Execution for Possession
- Signing: N/A
- Signing: N/A
- Verification of Petition
- Signing: Landlord
- Motion for Order to Serve or Post – Sample for Jackson County
- Signing: Landlord and Deputy Court Administrator