Missouri Security Deposit Laws

Missouri landlords can charge up to two months' rent as a security deposit, and they have 30 days to give your money back when you move out.
Written by Lynell Spencer
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Missouri landlords can charge up to two months' rent as a security deposit when you sign a new rental agreement. Landlords must return your deposit within 30 days of termination of your lease. 
Paying a security deposit is a necessary evil of renting a property. Your security deposit is held until you move out and can be used for any damage to the unit above and beyond normal wear and tear. Your lease will give more specifics about what that means, but structural damage like broken windows or holes in walls could end up being deducted from your deposit. 
There is a lot of fine print in the process of renting a home.
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What is Missouri law on security deposits?

The state of Missouri has several laws in place to protect both renters and landlords when it comes to the security deposit. 
If you follow the terms of your lease and do not damage your rental, you should be due your full deposit within 30 days of your lease ending. 

What is the maximum security deposit a landlord can charge in Missouri? 

Missouri landlords can charge up to two months' rent as a security deposit. The law requires that this money be held in a federally insured bank, credit union, or other depository institution
Remember that a landlord can request this sum in addition to the first month's rent, so you could end up paying up to three times your monthly rent when you move in.

How long does a landlord have to return a security deposit in Missouri? 

The landlord has 30 days from the time your lease agreement is terminated to refund your deposit or give you an itemized list of damages and repair costs to show where your deposit is being used. 
To initiate the process, your landlord will need to inspect the unit after you’ve moved out. It is a good idea to be there when the scheduled inspection takes place. 
If there are no issues, your refund will be mailed to the last address your landlord has on file for you, so make sure you update them on your new address. 
MORE: How to find the best renters insurance

What can a landlord withhold a security deposit for in Missouri?

Missouri law allows landlords to keep all or part of your deposit based on any of the following conditions: 
  • Default of payment. If you move out with unpaid rent, your landlord can take the amount owed from your deposit. 
  • To restore the unit to its pre-rental condition (minus normal wear and tear). This can be a little bit vague, but the specifics will be spelled out in your rental agreement. Missouri landlords are allowed to charge a fee for carpet cleaning, or carpet cleaning above what is normal (if there are multiple stains, pet odors, or other issues). 
  • To cover any loss caused by early termination of the lease agreement. This is often referred to as an early termination fee, and will also be defined in your lease. 
Key Takeaway You should have your security deposit back within 30 days of moving, and if you don’t, you can take legal action.

How to get your security deposit back in Missouri

First, make sure your landlord has your current address. If everything goes according to plan, the balance of your security deposit along with an itemized list of charges will be mailed to your new address within 30 days of lease termination. 
If 30 days pass and you have not received your deposit, you have some options. If your landlord wrongfully withholds your security deposit, you may be entitled to up to two times the amount withheld.
Unfortunately, to get your deposit back, in this case, you will need to visit your local courthouse to fill out and submit the required forms to sue your landlord. You will need to pay a court filing fee which is around $105 in Missouri. 
You can also file a suit if you disagree with your landlord's assessment of damages.

How to save money on car and renters insurance in Missouri

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In a word, no. A tenant may not legally use their security deposit to cover their last month’s rent. If you skip out on your last payment, you will be in breach of your rental contract and liable for any fees or penalties that are applied.
Yes. Missouri landlords can charge for carpet cleaning, but only when it is an established part of the rental agreement. 
If your landlord charges for this service, the cost and other details will be laid out in your lease agreement.
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