Property owners and landlords cannot refuse to sell, rent, sublease, or otherwise make housing unavailable based on a renter’s race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin. Property owners and landlords also cannot charge some individuals higher rent or falsely state that housing is not available for discriminatory reasons. If you believe you have been a victim of discrimination, notify any of these agencies:
- City of Columbia Human Rights Commission: (573) 817-5024
- City of Columbia Office of Community Services: (573) 874-7488
- Missouri Human Rights Commission Jefferson City Area: (573) 751-3325
- St. Louis Area: (314) 340-7590
- Kansas City Area: (816) 889-5100
- Sikeston Area: (573) 472-5320
- Toll-Free: (877) 781-4236
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development Housing Discrimination Hotline: (800) 669-9777
Rental applications ask for a great deal of sensitive information, such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, phone numbers for references and employers. This is why it is important that you have made a sound decision that the property for which you are filling out an application is the one you really want.
Most rental applications ask that you give permission to the property owner for the release of a credit report. Many property owners want to know if you have had trouble with payment of other items in the past. This is a standard procedure.
A lease is a written agreement between a tenant (the person renting) and a landlord/property owner. This agreement offers both the tenant and the landlord protection of the property and well-being of tenants. When a lease is signed by both parties it becomes a binding legal contract. If you or your landlord does not fulfill all of the terms of the lease, then the person who defaults can be sued. This can cost a great deal of time and money, so be sure to do your part in fulfilling the terms of the lease.
Never sign more than one lease. You will be required to pay all rent wherever you sign. This is not a suitable way to temporarily hold a property.
In a majority of cases, full-time students are required to have co-signers. In the state of Missouri a co- signer is someone who signs the lease in addition to the student. This means that the co-signer agrees to:
- Have the landlord check his/her credit
- Guarantee that the tenant complies with the rental agreement
- Guarantee the payment of rent
By having a co-signer on the lease, a property owner has the ability to collect payment if you default on your rental payments. Most students have a parent or guardian as a co-signer. However, it can be anyone who is willing and earns in excess of 5-6 times the amount of the monthly rent of the property.
Most landlords require a deposit at the time of signing the lease. This deposit is money that the landlord collects as security against property damage, unclean conditions, and unpaid rent. The amount may vary, but it cannot exceed two month’s rent in the state of Missouri.
- Within 30 days from the date the lease ends, the landlord is required to either return your full security deposit or give you a written list of reasons why part or all the security deposit was withheld.
- It is important for the tenant to make it known to the landlord where they will be staying during the 30 days after the lease ends, so the security deposit can be sent to the appropriate location.
- The landlord may retain all or any portion of the deposit to cover any damages or charges for which you are liable under the lease. The landlord may also retain all or any portion of the deposit if you break the lease agreement.
A landlord may not evict without a court order. The landlord may begin eviction proceedings if a tenant:
- Damages property
- Fails to pay rent
- Violates the terms of the lease
- Injures the lessor or another tenant
- Allows drug-related criminal activity on the premises
- Fails to vacate at the end of the lease term
- Gambles illegally on the property
If for any reason you want to move out of a current location, you must first have a sublease or continue to pay the rent and other monetary arrangements made when you first signed the lease. If you do not pay for the entire leasing period then you could face a lawsuit.
A subleaser is someone who agrees to lease your current property from you. This means that you can still be held responsible for any damages or problems that may occur during the remainder of the lease.