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A Missouri landlord may not evict a tenant without a court order. The landlord may begin eviction proceedings if a tenant:

  • Damages property.

  • Fails to pay rent.

  • Violates terms of the lease.

  • Injures the lessor or another tenant.

  • Allows drug-related criminal activity on the premises.

  • Fails to vacate at the end of the lease term.

  • Gambles illegally on the property.

The tenant will receive a notice that an eviction lawsuit has been filed and will have the opportunity to be heard in court before any eviction.

Unlawful detainer defined

When any person willfully and without force holds over any lands, tenements or other possessions, after the termination of the time for which they were demised or let to the person, or the person under whom such person claims * * * and after demand made, in writing, for the delivery of such possession of the premises by the person having the legal right to such possession, or the person's agent or attorney, shall refuse or neglect to vacate such possession, such person is guilty of an "unlawful detainer".

To legally evict you, your landlord must file a lawsuit in court. If sued, you should receive a Petition and Summons, telling you when and where to appear in court, and what your landlord is demanding. Do not ignore the lawsuit.  If you do nothing, a default judgment may be entered against you.

Typically the judge will hear your case on the first court date and not continue it.   If you have a claim against your landlord, you must file it in writing with the court by the court date.

If the summons was only posted on your property (not hand-delivered to you or your family by a process server), your landlord may only be able to get a judgment for "possession," but no rent.  Possession means possession of the apartment or house, not your property.

Contact an attorney as soon as you are sued or notified that your landlord plans to evict you.

A landlord is prohibited from illegally evicting you without a court order, i.e., by locking you out, removing doors to your home, shutting off your utilities, or removing you or your property.  You should call your local police or city officials if this happens. In Kansas City, immediately call the Office of Community Relations (513-1836), the Police Department (911), or Neighborhood Preservation (513-9000 for utility shut-offs only).  

Disclaimer: The law is constantly changing and there may be times when the information on this web site will not be current. This information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. This information is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject and is not a substitute for advice from an attorney. ADDITIONAL RULES MAY APPLY IN YOUR JURISDICTION. Missouri Eviction Lawyers

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