Scott Law Firm Blawg

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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • How to prepare for trial - Preparation for the trial of a landlord-tenant case should begin even before signing a lease with a tenant, and preparation should continue during the lease in case an eviction or other lawsuit cannot be avoided. This post outlines recommended procedures for landlords to follow and explains how to prepare for trial if necessary.
  • Landlord’s repair and maintenance liability - There are a number of situations in which landlords have a legal obligation to perform repairs and maintenance -- and a few in which tenants may have the right to withhold rent if repairs are not made. This post will help landlords and property managers decide what to do in particular situations.

Serving landlords and property managers in Boone County, Missouri