Scott Law Firm Blawg

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  • CDC orders delay of evictions for nonpayment of rent - Published Sept. 2, 2020. Updated Sept. 3, 2020 to include "Practical tips for landlords." Updated Sept. 4, 2020 to include guidance document from National Apartment Association under "Practical tips for landlords." Updated Sept. 23, 2020 to include our local court's response under "Practical tips for landlords." Updated Nov. 13, 2020 to reflect CDC's clarification of its order. Contents: Introduction How tenants can qualify for delayed eviction Penalties for violations by landlords Rationale for order Practical tips for landlords Commentary Introduction On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), acting under statutory authority to prevent the spread of disease,… Read more.
  • Tenant bankruptcy information for landlords and property managers - Contents Preliminary notes Types of bankruptcies Automatic "stay" Debts that are discharged Tenant options to reject or assume lease Preliminary notes The following information applies to bankruptcies filed by residential tenants. There are additional issues to be considered if a bankruptcy is filed by a commercial tenant - consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is recommended. We thank Casey Elliott, a bankruptcy practitioner at the Van Matre Law Firm, for her review of the following information to ensure accuracy. Types of bankruptcies There are two types of bankruptcies that can be filed by tenants: Chapter 7 - This is a… Read more.
  • Current court schedule for landlord-tenant cases - The Boone County Circuit Court's schedule for hearing landlord-tenant cases changes from time to time. This post sets out the current schedule and is subject to updating from time to time as the schedule changes. Read more.
  • Validity of collection fees clauses in leases - A question sometimes asked by landlords is whether a lease may include a clause saying that collection fees will be added to the amount due under the lease. Our opinion is that such a clause is legal. However, there is a distinction between collection fees that can be charged before a lawsuit is filed and after a judgment is entered in a lawsuit. Read more.
  • Assistance and service animals - In recent years landlords and property managers have experienced a surge of requests by tenants to keep "emotional support animals" even when animals are not usually permitted. In the law the correct legal term for such animals is "assistance animal." There is another legal category called "service animal." For both categories, the law prohibits charging a pet deposit or pet fee. This post explains the law on assistance and service animals and how to evaluate tenant requests to keep them. Read more.
  • Using criminal records to screen rental applicants - Landlords who routinely request criminal background checks on prospective tenants and use the results to decide whether or not to lease to particular individuals may face a discrimination claim by a rejected applicant. Blanket refusal to lease to a person with any kind of criminal history is particularly problematic. This post explores the relevant law and suggests how to avoid such discrimination claims. Read more.
  • Security deposit issues - A 2015 court decision makes it clear that language in a lease cannot override the provisions of the Missouri security deposit statute. This post covers how this ruling may affect landlords and property managers. See our Security Deposits page for general information about deposits. Read more.
  • Corporation or limited liability company? - Landlords and property managers seeking to limit their personal liability for tenant claims often consider forming a corporation or limited liability company. This post compares the two options so an intelligent choice can be made. Read more.
  • Preventing and defending mold claims - In recent years the courts saw an increasing number of lawsuits filed claiming injuries from so-called "toxic mold." While the number of such cases seems to be decreasing, landlords and property managers should take proactive steps to avoid mold claims and be prepared to defend such claims if they are filed. Read this post to find out how to prevent mold claims and defend them if they are filed. Read more.
  • Protection of assets - Only a lucky few among landlords and property management companies will escape being sued if they are in business for any length of time. This post covers steps that can be taken to protect the landlord/manager's assets if a tenant obtains a judgment against the landlord/manager. Read more.

Serving landlords and property managers in Boone County, Missouri