Legal Memorandum: Definition of a "Tenant" in MO

Issue: Under Missouri law, what is the definition of a ‘tenant’?

Area of Law: Real Estate Law
Keywords: Definition of a "tenant"; Landlord-tenant relationship
Jurisdiction: Missouri
Cited Cases: 565 So.2d 741; 476 S.W.2d 134; 598 So. 2d 109
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 01/01/2000

In Missouri, "[t]he status of landlord and tenant is defined, generally, to arise from contract, express or implied, under the terms of which the person designated as ‘tenant’ enters into possession of land of another, known as ‘landlord’, with the rights of the tenant subordinate to the landlord."  Friend v. Gem Int’l, Inc., 476 S.W.2d 134, 137 (Mo. Ct. App. 1971).  In Johnson v. Simpson Oil Co., 394 S.W.2d 91 (Mo. Ct. App. 1965), the court described the elements of a landlord-tenant relationship more precisely:


(1) a reversion to the landlord, (2) the creation of an estate in the tenant, either at will or for a term less than that for which the landlord holds, (3) the transfer of exclusive possession and control of the premises to the tenant, and (4) a contract, either express or implied, between the parties.

394 S.W.2d at 96.

In Friend, the plaintiff was injured when she fell on a flight of stairs inside a department store owned by the defendant Gem.  The plaintiff was an employee of Biederman, the company that operated the furniture department in the Gem store.  On appeal the issue was whether Biederman was […]

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