All About Breaking A Lease In Missouri

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All You Need To Know About Breaking A Lease In Missouri

A renter that signs a lease does so with the intent of fulfilling it, but despite intentions, many tenants find a need to leave before the lease is up. before its expiration is a tricky process to get right.

Read on to get the full scoop about legally breaking a lease. Learn how to limit your liability and discover the best way to limit a stressful and tedious process with the help of DoNotPay.

Tenant Rights and Responsibilities When Signing a Lease in Missouri

According to Missouri state law, rental agreements can be oral or written contracts. Your rights do not need explicit identification. Both parties automatically have certain rights and ignorance doesn't negate them.

Tenant Responsibility

The state expects tenants to take responsibility for:

  • Abiding to lease terms.
  • Keeping the rental safe and habitable.
  • Performing small repairs or those outlined in the lease.
  • Not disrupting other neighbors or tenants.
  • Paying bills and charges exclusive to utility bills, cable, electricity, water, etc.

Tenant Rights

Your agreement ensures several rights, including:

  • Living in a unit that's safe and in good repair.
  • Privacy
  • Having your security deposit returned at the end of the tenancy (provided you've met the agreement's terms)
  • Challenging any fees or charges believed to be "excessively high."
  • Potection from unfair rent or eviction.

Conditions for Legally Breaking a Lease in Missouri

A tenant who breaks a lease may be responsible for the rent for the remainder of the term, but the law also attests to circumstances under which a tenant can legally break the lease:

1. You're Starting Active Duty

If you join the military or are relocated for active duty, federal law allows you to break the lease. The landlord has to terminate 30 days after receiving notice.

2. The Unit Violates Safety or Health Codes

The court, if it determines you have an uninhabitable rental, can decree you've been "constructively evicted."

3. You Are a Victim of Harassment or Invasion of Privacy

Landlords cannot:

  • Violate your privacy by entering the unit without notice.
  • Be emotionally, physically, or sexually intimidating.
  • Turn off utilities or change locks.
  • Removing doors or windows.

Lease Termination Notice Requirement in Missouri

Follow these guidelines to provide your landlord with appropriate notice before :

Rent PaymentNotice TimeStatute
Week-to-weekNo statuteNo statute
Month-to-month30 daysSection 441.060
Year-to-year60 daysSection 441.050

What if I Move Out Without Telling My Landlord?

If you move out without following the law, you've broken the contract and put yourself at risk. Here’s what could happen next:

  1. The landlord could take you to court.
  2. You could end up still being liable for the rent.
  3. A landlord can sue you for breach of contract and damages.
  4. The court can create an eviction on record.
  5. The eviction and judgment reflect negatively on credit scores.
  6. The legal recordings make it difficult to find a new place.
  7. The landlord can keep your security deposit.

Reasons That Don't Apply to Breaking a Lease

You cannot use the following reasons to legally break a lease:

  1. You purchased a home.
  2. You're looking to move for school or new employment.
  3. You want to lower rent or get a better place.
  4. You're getting married or moving in with a partner.
  5. You need to move in with or closer to family.

How to Break a Missouri Lease by Yourself

Every circumstance is different. Options for breaking a lease depend on the lease agreement.

  1. Attempt to negotiate termination with your landlord.
  2. If the lease has a clause for breaking the agreement, check and see if circumstances apply.
  3. Find a new tenant and reassign the lease.
  4. Sublet the premises or a portion of the premises.
  5. Write a demand letter to your landlord to convince them to break your lease with minimal penalty.

Minimize Liability When Breaking a Lease

Breaking a lease can be costly. Alleviate the situation by providing as much advance notice as possible. Write a letter explaining why you want to vacate. Be formal, sincere, and courteous. It could lead to an amicable separation. Offer to help find a replacement. Unexpected vacancies put your landlord in a bad position. Getting a new renter might minimize the stress.

Next Steps for Breaking a Lease if You Can't Do It Yourself

Here are moves to make if the aforementioned lease-breaking methods don't go anywhere:

  • Speak with a Missouri attorney experienced in tenant law.
  • Contact your local consumer advocate's office. Any programs or forms you can fill out will likely be there.
  • Speak with a housing or building authority, the town clerk, or the county health department.
  • The easiest solution: Use DoNotPay to file a complaint or walk through the process of taking the landlord to court.

Break Your Lease With the Help of DoNotPay

Get started breaking a lease in Missouri in three easy steps:

  1. Search Break My Lease on DoNotPay.

  2. Prepare a signed copy of your lease that you can use as a reference, and enter the state the lease was signed in.

  3. Let us guide you through the 4 potential options.

Here’s what DoNotPay does next to help you break your lease:

  • If you're a uniformed service member breaking a lease to fulfill your service obligations, we'll send your landlord an SCRA Protection Letter.
  • If you're breaking your lease for a reason protected by your state's tenant laws, we'll write your landlord a letter detailing your protections for breaking the lease under the relevant law.
  • If your reasons for breaking your lease aren't protected by federal or state law, but you'd like to try to convince your landlord to let you break the lease through mutual agreement, we'll draft a hardship letter making your case to your landlord.
  • If there are no remaining options for breaking the lease with protection, but your state requires landlords to mitigate damages to tenants who break their leases, we'll notify your landlord of that obligation and minimize the remaining rent you have to pay.

Why Use DoNotPay?

DoNotPay's appeal comes from the following:

  • With a simple click, you begin the process to break your Missouri lease.
  • You won't spend hours solving the matter. All you have to do is answer a few questions. We do the rest.
  • You skip standing in lines, waiting on hold, and filling out forms, all while keeping track of the process.

DoNotPay Works for All Kinds of Problems

For breaking leases, DoNotPay's auto-processes use tenants' rights regardless of region. We can push you through legal systems, be they in New York, California, or Missouri.

What Else Does DoNotPay Do?

DoNotPay is a resource for solving contract disputes or helping you reduce property taxes. We help you get or give power of attorney and cancel subscriptions. We simplify complex matters using proven methods. We help fight bureaucracy. If there's a problem, reach out to DoNotPay!

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