Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Eviction Process Goes beyond Notice from the Landlord

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Eviction Process Goes beyond Notice from the Landlord

Article excerpt

Q: I'm behind on my rent, and my landlord just gave me a five-day notice to pay or he will kick me out. My neighbor told me that I have to be sued in court before I have to leave, and that if we go to court - even if I lose - I will get two weeks to find a new place to live. Who's right?

A: Actually, neither of them is completely right.

If you are renting a house or apartment with an oral or written lease, and your landlord wants to evict you, then he must follow the next four steps. Step One: Unless you have a written lease that waives your right to a written notice, the landlord must give you a proper written notice before an eviction suit is filed in court. What type of notice you get depends upon the reason the landlord has for seeking eviction. For example, if the landlord claims you owe rent, then you get a five-day written notice. The notice must tell you how much you owe and must give you five days to pay. So your landlord is correct about the five-day period you have to pay your past-due rent; he is just not right about the "kicking you out" part. If you pay the rent within the five-day period, you cannot be evicted. If you do not, then unless you move voluntarily, the landlord must go to Step Two. If the landlord claims you violated a requirement of the lease, such as damage to the property, then you are entitled to a ten-day notice. If you do not move within ten days, the landlord must go to Step Two. Step Two: Once the written notice period has ended, the landlord must file a complaint against you in the circuit court. This complaint is called a Forcible Entry and Detainer action. You will know a complaint has been filed against you when the county sheriff's deputy serves the court papers on you. The complaint will tell you the day and time to appear at the courthouse. …

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