When you own a rental property, whether that’s in St. Louis or St. Charles, or really anywhere, sometimes it can be difficult to determine what items you’re responsible for, and what your tenant is responsible for. Each state is going to have different laws when it comes to landlords and property management, and it’s very important to understand your state and local laws. Today, we are discussing Missouri leases.

I am outlining the top 5 questions I get asked, and hopefully this will help you in the future when you have conflicts with your tenants, or maybe it’ll give you some additional ideas on what to put in your lease. Either way, hopefully you find this information helpful for managing your rental property.


First, let’s talk the big one – maintenance. Typically, the landlord is going to be responsible for any repairs to the property, except if it was caused by the tenant. This would include plumbing problems, lights not working, appliances going out, HVAC needing repaired, etc. There are some minor things you can have your tenants responsible for, though. We require our tenants to change the furnace filters each quarter, change light bulbs, thermostat batteries, little things like that.

I also highly recommend having troubleshooting lists ready for your tenants. That can help the tenant help you by easily correcting some common maintenance issues like resetting breakers, adjusting garage door sensors, and so on. You don’t want to find yourself sending out a heating and cooling vendor to your rental property to repair a furnace that isn’t working, only to find out it was a tripped breaker the entire time.

Lawn Care

Second, lawn care. Unless it’s a very special circumstance, we always have our tenants responsible for lawn care. Once they move in, they are responsible for keeping the rental home’s lawn mowed, and keeping the landscaping trimmed up and tidy. Now, will a tenant take care of it like you, the landlord, would? Maybe not.

And I do always suggest still doing some pruning, trimming, yard cleanup from time to time to keep things looking nice, so that years from now it doesn’t cost you a ton of money to get the property back up to par. But basic mowing and bush trimming, as a landlord, you can require this of your tenants. Of course, if it’s a condo where the HOA takes care of the grass, this wouldn’t matter.

Pest Control

Next, pest control. In Missouri, we can have tenants responsible for pest control, except for the first 30 days of the lease. So if the tenants would report bug problems when they first move in, it would be on you to have this treated, but after 30 days, this would be the responsibility of the tenant moving forward.

Some landlords will continue having a quarterly pest control for their tenants, and that is fine too. But, it’s not required, except for in the case of wood destroying insects (termites). Termites are still the rental property landlord’s responsibility.


Fourth, is insurance. This one, you’re both technically responsible. You will keep your homeowner policy, adjusting it so that the property is reflected as a rental, and we also require our tenants to have liability insurance as well. We typically require $100,000 in rental liability insurance.

I also highly recommend having your tenants name you as “Additional Interest” on the policy. This will ensure that you receive notice should the tenants ever cancel their policy, or have it canceled due to non-payment. So, make sure to put in your lease that the tenant must name the landlord as an interested party.


And last, utilities. This does vary somewhat, but we usually have the tenant responsible for all utilities. The exceptions would be if the property is a condo and some of the utilities – like water, or sewer, or trash, are included in the monthly HOA fees. Otherwise, we would have the tenants responsible for all utilities. Make sure to outline exactly what utilities the tenants are responsible for in the lease.

Oh, and some bonus advice on this. Before you refund the security deposit to the tenant, make sure that all utilities are paid in full. Some utilities, most commonly water, sewer, and trash, follow the homeowner, so if the tenant ends up not paying them, you will have to pay. If you don’t pay, this could result in a lien against the rental property. So, just make sure the tenant has paid in full before you send them their security deposit back, or use the deposit to pay those unpaid utility bills.

I hope this list helps with the management of your rental property. A lease is a legally binding document, so be sure to consult your attorney as well in this type of matter.