What Does Missouri Rental Rights Occupancy Mean?

The Missouri Statutes Chapter 441 is the Landlord and Tenant Act.
The Missouri Statutes Chapter 441 is the Landlord and Tenant Act. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

In Missouri, local government ordinances may require landlords to obtain occupancy permits before they can legally rent property to local tenants. In 1997, Missouri residents voted to pass new laws governing landlord and tenant transactions within the state. The Missouri Landlord-Tenant Law now requires landlords to comply with maximum occupancy limits when renting their homes to tenants. In response to the new legislation, local governments also passed additional ordinances requiring landlords to comply with maximum occupancy limits and obtain proper licensing.

In 1997, the Missouri Legislature enacted new landlord and tenant laws providing tenants with additional rights against landlords. The new laws also provided landlords with rights against their non-compliant tenants. The new laws incorporated maximum occupancy statutes limiting the number of tenants allowed to occupy rentals. Under the 1997 laws, landlords cannot allow more than two tenants to occupy each bedroom in their rentals. However, tenants who have children during their lease periods are allowed to exceed the maximum occupancy limits.

Local Laws

In addition to the 1997 requirements, local governments enacted additional regulations governing occupancy limits. Rental occupancy laws establish maximum occupancy limits for residential property. In an effort to ensure the health, safety and welfare of Missouri residents, landlords may have to obtain occupancy permits through their local government city halls or housing agencies.

Inspection Requirements

City inspectors are required to perform occupancy inspections before landlords can rent their homes in most cities and counties in Missouri. During the occupancy inspection, city inspectors must verify there are no structural defects or code violations for rental properties. Under Missouri law, city inspectors are limited to visual inspections and may not remove property or personal possessions. Inspectors can issue citations against landlords who fail to comply with the maximum occupancy limits if they find violations during their inspections.

Tenants’ Duties

To help landlords comply with state and local government occupancy limits, the Missouri Landlord-Tenant Law requires tenants to obtain written consent from their landlords before they can legally sublease their rentals. Missouri law allows landlords to collect double rent from their tenants as damages for failing to obtain their consent before subleasing.


Since state laws can frequently change, do not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in your state.

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