Asked in Civil Litigation and Landlord - Tenant for Missouri

Q: This squatter is in Texas County MO. No lease , no money exchanged. Where do I find the unlawful detainer form to file?

I originally was going to rent to this person, but too many lies made me change my mind. I did let him get the electric in his name while many repairs were made that he had agreed to pay for. He never paid for any. I paid him to put the roof on and owed him $300 more, which I told him I would pay him once he turned over the key and cut off the electric. He never called back and I since found him squatting. An eviction notice was served to him 10-13-2021 along with 2 other adults probably living there too. Does this make him a tenant or a squatter since no lease was signed nor any money paid for rent. I keep thinking he is a squatter by what I have read and have been told by a lawyer that unfortunately doesn't do civil matters. Thank you for your input and help in advance.

1 Lawyer Answer
Robert Grant Pennell
Robert Grant Pennell
  • Manchester, MO
  • Licensed in Missouri

A: From your description, it appears that this individual was on a month-to-month lease. As such, either of you can terminate the lease at any time upon providing at least thirty (30) days' written notice before the start of the next month. If you provided written notice to this person on 10/13/21, he must vacate the premises by 12/1/21. If the notice provided on 10/13/21 was not in writing, then you should give such notice immediately. Providing notice at this point would not be at least thirty (30) days before 12/1/21, so you could only require him to vacate by 1/1/22.

If the tenant fails to vacate by the required date, that is an unlawful detainer. As such, the holdover tenant can be charged twice (2x) the fair market rental value for the premises for the period that he remains after the date he is obligated to vacate.

If the tenant fails to move out on his own, you will have to file an Unlawful Detainer suit against him in the circuit court for the county in which the property is located. It will likely take a month to get a court date. So long as you have provided the proper amount of notice, you will prevail and get a court order granting you possession. The tenant will have ten (10) days to file an appeal, after which the judgment will be final. At that point, you can submit the court's order to the local sheriff's department for deputies to physically remove the tenant from the premises.

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