The Landlord’s Dilemma: What is the Best Way to Remove a Tenant That Fails to Pay Rent?

Published in Real Estate on August 3, 2018

As any landlord knows, getting tenants to pay rent and/or move out can be a challenge. When tenants fail to pay rent or move out the landlord is left wondering what to do. When considering what steps are necessary to obtain possession of the property, landlords must know their options with how to proceed in the most effective and cost-efficient manner. Prior to a recent Missouri Supreme Court decision, the fastest option for a landlord to obtain possession was to pursue a rent and possession action. However, the Missouri Supreme Court recently ruled in the case of Brainchild Holdings, LLC v. Cameron, 534 S.W.3d 243 (Mo. Banc 2017) that tenants and/or landlords are now permitted to request a jury trial in a rent and possession action at the associate circuit court level.

The impact of this recent decision is huge for landlords to say the least. While a bench trial for rent and possession could be had in as little as the same week in associate circuit court, it can easily exceed 60 days for the court to obtain a date for a jury trial. To avoid this from occurring, landlords need to ensure that their lease agreements contain language that effectively waives a tenant’s right to a jury trial. Consider speaking with an attorney to ensure that your lease agreements contain favorable language that may end up saving you quite a bit on legal fees if a tenant fails to pay rent or to vacate the property and a lawsuit has to be filed.