One of the best reasons to work with a professional St. Louis property management company is to protect yourself from expensive legal mistakes. If you’re not completely sure of your requirements and responsibilities as set forth in the Landlord/Tenant laws, you need to talk to some property managers who understand this law and all it entails. At Amoso Properties, we are constantly keeping up with state, local, and federal laws. We can help you and your rental property remain compliant.
There are a few specific things you absolutely need to know before you begin renting out a property in St. Louis.
St. Louis Security Deposits
It’s easy to make mistakes with security deposits. In Missouri, landlords are permitted to charge up to two times the security deposit.
You also need to return the deposit to your tenant within 30 days of the tenant moving out. If you’re withholding any or all of the deposit, make sure it’s for a valid reason – such as late or missing rental payments or property damage caused by tenant abuse, misuse, or neglect. You cannot charge for normal wear and tear, and you have to itemize any charges from the tenant’s deposit.
If you make a mistake with the security deposit, tenants can sue you in small claims court for up to $5,000. You don’t want to take this risk. Make sure you understand the requirements of the security deposit laws, or talk to a local property management company that can help.
Rent Collection and Eviction
There are legal standards for how and when landlords can terminate a tenancy. If you can prove that illegal activities are taking place in your property, you can require the tenant to leave within 10 days, and then you can file for eviction. For nonpayment of rent, you need to serve a notice and provide the tenants with five days to catch up before you file for eviction.
Fair Housing and Anti-Discrimination Laws
The federal Fair Housing Act applies to all St. Louis landlords and rental properties. You are not permitted to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. Most landlords don’t intentionally violate these laws, but if you say the wrong thing in your marketing materials or you screen one applicant differently than another applicant, you could run into trouble.
The Americans with Disabilities Act also provides protection for people who have physical or intellectual disabilities. This law is especially relevant to St. Louis landlords and property managers when it comes to service and support animals. A tenant who needs a service animal cannot be treated like a tenant who wants to move in with a pet. You have to understand the difference, or you can find yourself in some expensive legal trouble.
Staying up to date with the new and changing rental laws is what we do as your St. Louis property management company. If you have any questions or need any help, please contact us at Amoso Properties.