Before you can even think about selling your home, you have to get rid of the tenants who are living in it. If your tenants are good people and you just don’t want to be a landlord anymore [read more="Read more" less="Read less"]
talk to them about your situation. You can’t evict model tenants who pay on time and never violate the terms of their lease, and you probably have the empathy to understand why.
Tell good tenants that you’re looking to sell the home, and you won’t be renewing the lease for that reason. Offer to write them a letter of recommendation for future landlords to review. Let them know if they want to go before the lease is up that you’ll give them back their deposits and allow them to prematurely break the lease without consequence. If they don’t want to break the lease, you’ll have to wait it out.
Bad tenants are a different story. No self-eviction procedures are legal in Missouri, so you’ll have to formally evict all tenants. Some states allow tenants redemption periods, but Missouri doesn’t. You can evict a tenant after serving them with a ten day notice to vacate. They’re not given a period of time in which they can comply with your terms – they just have to leave.
Because of this, tenants can use defenses against eviction in court. It’s important that you strictly adhere to the laws surrounding eviction and never make any risky moves. If you step outside of the proper process and the tenant can prove it, your tenant can take you to court and postpone the eviction. If you want to get things over with quickly and smoothly, take a cautious and thorough approach to eviction.
It’s easiest to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent. All you need to do is make a demand for unpaid rent. Missouri law does not specify how long the landlord must wait for the rent. To be on the safe side, give your tenant at least three business days to pay up. You’ll need to be able to prove that you made the demand for rent that was not met, so sending a letter with a signature required on delivery or handing a clear written demand to a tenant of legal age in person is the best way to approach the situation.
The moment your demand period has run out, you can file a formal eviction lawsuit. You can start filing before the time period is up, but you aren’t allowed to proceed with the eviction if the tenant pays before the end of your demand period.
For lease violations, tenants are to be served a ten day notice informing them that if they do not voluntarily leave within the period of ten business days excluding holidays, you’ll formally file for eviction. You’ll want to serve this notice the same way as a payment demand, so the tenant cannot say they never received the notice. Most tenants will prefer to voluntarily leave rather than face an eviction. If the tenants aren’t gone within ten days, you can file the eviction lawsuit.
If a tenant contests an eviction and loses, they’ll be responsible for paying any fees you’ve racked up as a direct result of the eviction, such as your lawyer and court costs. They won’t want to do that, so in most cases, tenants will not contest.[/read]