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How to Evict a Tenant in Missouri (7 Steps) 

Evicting a tenant in Missouri begins with an official notice, which may be given to tenants who are in breach of their rental agreement, have not paid rent in full for at least one month, have committed an illegal act on the property, or are being given notice of a landlord’s intent to end a month-to-month lease agreement. 

Laws – Chapter 535 Landlord-Tenant ActionsChapter 441. Landlord and Tenant

How to Evict

Step 1: Send an Eviction Notice 

Once a violation has been committed, the landlord must first deliver a written notice informing the tenant of their violation.

  • Demand for Rent (Non-Payment)A Demand for Rent may be issued to tenants who have not paid rent. If the tenant pays rent in full after receiving the notice, then the landlord cannot pursue any further actions toward eviction.1 Missouri law doesn’t specify a notice period in which the tenant has to pay or quit, only requiring landlords to complete the written notice informing the tenant of their failure to pay before advancing to court.2
  • Non-Compliance (10-Day Notice to Quit) – A tenant who is in violation of a provision on their lease may be given 10 days’ notice of their breach, at the end of which the landlord has the right to reenter the premises.3 The same notice may be used for instances of a tenant committing illegal activities on the premises, which may include activities that fall under definitions of illegal gaming, prostitution, or illegal possession, sale or distribution of a controlled substance.4
  • Month-to-Month (30-Day Notice to Quit) – Either a landlord or tenant may use the 30-day notice form to announce their intent to end a tenancy at will.5
  • Illegal Activity (10-Day Notice to Quit) – For instances of illegal gaming, prostitution, or possession of a controlled substance, tenants may be served a notice whereafter they have 10 days to leave. If tenants cause harm to other tenants or the landlord, commit damage exceeding a year’s rent, or are convicted of drug-related criminal activity, no notice is required before proceeding to court. If someone other than the tenant committed the latter, the tenant must be served a 5-day notice.6

Step 2: Wait to Hear from the Tenant 

While Missouri state law has no required waiting period for a landlord to grant to a tenant before pursuing evictions due to nonpayment of rent, it can still be advantageous to give a tenant reasonable time to pay or quit. This may prevent the eviction altogether if the tenant is given enough time to pay in full or communicate their intent to do so. 

Step 3: File in Court 

  • Average Filing Time: ~4 weeks7
  • Filing Fee: $368
  • Where to file: Circuit Court

Forms to File:

  • Landlord’s Petition for Rent and Possession
  • Motion for Order to Post

Step 4: Serve the Tenant 

Once filed with the court, a complaint and summons must be served to the defendant (tenant) at least 4 days prior to the scheduled hearing, and the court date will be no longer than 21 business days after the summons was issued.9 For evictions due to illegal activity, the hearing will be held within 15 days of the summons being issued.10

The summons and complaint may be served by delivering to the tenant personally, leaving a copy with a family member on the premises over the age of 15, posting a copy in an obvious place on the property such as the door, or finally, mailing a copy to the tenant’s last known address.11

Step 5: Attend a Hearing 

If the tenant doesn’t appear for their hearing, a judge may issue a default judgment and the tenant will be ordered to move out. 

If the tenant chooses to fight the eviction in the hearing, they argue that: 

  • the landlord employed self-help tactics to attempt to evict the tenant;
  • the landlord didn’t follow all proper eviction procedures;
  • the rental property has not been maintained adequately (and therefore the rent withheld is actually less than or equal to the cost of repairs);12 and/or
  • The tenant has already paid rent in full.

Step 6: Obtain a Writ of Possession

A judgment in favor of the landlord shall result in a writ of possession, which may not be issued sooner than 10 days after the ruling.13 If they choose, this period can allow the tenant to file an appeal or even ask for a new trial. 

Step 7: Recover the Property 

Any evictions that do not include illegal activity by the tenant will close with a final 3-5 day order to vacate the property.14 Meanwhile, tenants who were found guilty of committing illegal acts that resulted in their eviction will only be given 24 hours to vacate once the writ has been issued.15 An officer will be ordered by the court to return possession of the property to the landlord, as well as levy and collect damages and costs.16

Video: Evictions in Missouri


  1. § 535.020
  2. § 535.060
  3. § 441.040
  4. § 441.020
  5. https://www.revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection.aspx?section=441.060&bid=24345&hl=
  6. § 441.740
  7. https://mokslaw.com/wp-content/aa_resources/FAQ_MISSOURI_EVICTIONS.pdf
  8. http://www.circuit7.net/circuitclerk/fees
  9. § 535.030
  10. § 441.720
  11. § 506.150
  12. § 441.234
  13. § 534.350
  14. § 534.355
  15. § 534.355
  16. § 524.260