Although this is an unpleasant topic many landlords will find this information useful.  In St Louis City you can file your own evictions for rent and possession or unlawful detainer suits as long as the property is in your name personally (not an LLC or any other business).  If your building is owned in the name of an LLC or partnership you will have to hire an attorney to perform your evictions.  Evictions can be filed at the Civil Courts building at Tucker and Market on the 1st Floor.  Make sure you bring cash because they will not take personal checks.  The paperwork takes just a few minutes to complete and they have examples available of which forms to use and how to complete them.  You then get the paperwork notarized upstairs and come back downstairs to pay the cashier in the office.  The tenant will be served a summons to appear in court on the day of the hearing, which is usually about 30 days from the day you file the suit.

On the day of court you will want to plan to be there for most of the morning if not the entire day.  There can be as many as 60 or more cases on the docket in front of yours.  In many cases the parties won’t show or only one party will show.  However in the case that both parties are present testimony will be heard by the judge and usually will be over within a few minutes.   The judge will call your name when it is your turn.  If your tenant chooses to appear and testimony will be heard by the judge, clearly and calmly state your case and let the tenant speak as well.  Do not get animated or upset no matter what is said.  As long as you have followed the proper procedures you will have nothing to worry about.  A link is attached below to eviction guidelines as state by the City of St Louis.  Read them over to see what you must do to give the tenant proper notice or make demand.  Remember, a paper trail for letters is important.  If you want to bring evidence to a court date you will want to send registered letters so you can show the judge they were delivered.

Eviction Process

Below are the two kinds of petitions commonly used for evictions.  Make sure to use the one that best fits your situation.   Make sure to give the tenant proper notice.

Rent and Possession:

Section 535.020 R.S.Mo outlines the procedure to be followed in a suit for rent and possession. A suit for rent
and possession is appropriate when the landlord wants to regain possession of the property because the tenant
has not paid their rent.

– Available to a landlord after a tenant fails to pay rent

–  Landlord must make a demand for payment prior to filing suit

Unlawful Detainer:

This type of suit is usually brought after the tenant refuses to move out after the lease ends or when the tenant does not move out after the landlordgives proper notice to end the lease or there is a violation of the lease. Before a suit can be initiated the landlord is required to give written notice to terminate under

-Available to landlord to remove holdover tenants or tenants in violation of their lease

– Landlord must give tenant at least one full month’s notice starting from the next date the rent is due.

One common defense that tenants often try to use for not paying the rent is that there are repairs that they want that have not been performed.  This defense will not hold up in court unless they have set up a separate account to deposit their rent into until the repairs have been made.  It is illegal for them simply to not pay the rent and keep the money.  A judge will not listen to this as a defense and will find in the landlords favor unless the tenant has followed proper landlord/tenant law in regard to withholding rental payment for repairs.

A good place to track your case and find out if the sheriff was able to serve the tenant is Missouri Case Net.  This is also a great place to research potential tenants to see if they have any prior judgements from defaulting on a loan or criminal history as well.   This website has information on every county in the state and details everything from traffic violations to murder charges.

Missouri Case Net

Hopefully some local landlords found this information useful.  If you are in need of further information about evictions feel free to get in touch.  If you need the name of an attorney for evictions I would be happy to recommend one.