Landlord Tenant Bill, 1979
Proposed By J. PULITZER Of the Post-Dispatch Post-Dispatch Post-Dispatch Staff Renters in Missouri would be protected protected from retaliatory evictions and the withholding of security deposits by landlords landlords under legislation filed by state Rep. Ed Sweeney, D-St. D-St. D-St. Louis. Other sections of the bill would establish establish a small claims court for minor repairs repairs on dwellings and would allow tenants tenants to use their rent to pay utility bills when a landlord has failed to meet that obligation. "People recognize that Missouri has not kept pace with changing housing conditions, nor with the move in other states to bring landlord-tenant landlord-tenant landlord-tenant laws up to modern expectations," Sweeney said. Missouri case law, he noted, has never established "an implied warranty of habitability," or the landlord's obligation obligation to provide a dwelling fit for human habitation. He said such legislation was long overdue. This year, the bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, where it languished and died last year after one late-session late-session late-session hearing. But supporters supporters note that such legislation was favored in Gov. Joseph P. Teasdale's legislative message Jan. 3, and they say his support gives the bill a better chance. Teasdale, noting that one-third one-third one-third of all Missouri residents live in rental housing, said Missourians have the right to "fair Law Would Protect Changes Threaten Health Care Cost Bill Crippling amendments in the Missouri Missouri Senate could thwart proposed legislation legislation designed to trim health care costs by preventing over-expansion over-expansion over-expansion of medical facilities, a meeting of the Greater St. Louis Health Systems Agency Agency was told Saturday. Missouri is the only state without a so-called so-called so-called "certificate of need" system, under which hospitals and others must prove in advance that they need new facilities. Federal regulations require the state to establish such a program or face loss of federal funds. But state Sen. Harriett Woods, D-University D-University D-University City, told agency members that a "consensus" bill proposed by treatment, should they rent." "While we strive to offer equal treatment treatment to the purchasers of homes, we cannot ignore the inequality in the landlord-tenant landlord-tenant landlord-tenant landlord-tenant relationship," Teasdale said. "Present laws and practices reflect an unjustified bias against the renter. Tenants are subject to void and unenforceable unenforceable lease provisions. They are forced to relinquish excess and non-refundable non-refundable non-refundable non-refundable security deposits. The rights and responsibilities of both parties need to be more fairly and clearly defined. hospitals and consumers could be stripped of cost-cutting cost-cutting cost-cutting ability through a series of exemptions added as amendments amendments in the Senate. The measure would create a 15-member 15-member 15-member regulating board, made up of eight consumer representatives and seven representatives of health care professions, including at least one insurance insurance representative. The board would rule on proposed facilities and programs costing more than $150,000, including hospital construction construction and equipment purchases. The board could apply sanctions to ensure compliance, but rulings could be appealed. appealed. Balance must be restored so that those seeking decent housing receive the same considerations as the landlord who offers offers it." The bill has not been assigned a hearing hearing date by the House Judiciary Committee. Committee. But its principal opponent last year, the Missouri Realtors Association, has scheduled a meeting Jan. 23 in Kansas Kansas City to consider a final position on the proposal. Tom Ryan, a staff attorney for the Tenants Missouri Public Interest Research Group, which drafted the proposed bill, said his group has worked closely with the Missouri Realtors Association to find an acceptable compromise. A provision entitling tenants to deduct deduct rent for minor repairs that a landlord landlord failed to make after 30 days' notice was dropped at the urging of the Realtors Realtors Association, Ryan said. The remedy of a special small claims court was substituted, substituted, meaning an average wait of four to six weeks for a judgment, he added. "But that section is for minor repairs," repairs," Ryan said. "Anything that endangers endangers health or safety would be co-.ered co-.ered co-.ered by the housing code." The section regulating security deposits deposits would permit landlords to charge a maximum deposit of one month's rent for an unfurnished dwelling, an additional additional half-month's half-month's half-month's rent for furnishings and an additional half-month's half-month's half-month's rent if the tenant has a pet, Ryan said. Landlords would be required to return return security deposits within two weeks after a lease is terminated, or provide an itemized list of deducted repairs. Landlords who withhold security deposits deposits could face a penalty of twice the amount withheld if found at fault in small claims court, Ryan said. The bill also would prohibit lease agreements that require tenants to pay attorneys' fees for landlords in a lawsuit related to the agreement, he said.