I have been practicing law for 32 years and I never thought I would see the day tenants would have free legal representation at a landlord-tenant docket.  Last week I was in Kansas City Jackson County Associate Court Docket and there were tenant lawyer representatives appearing and handing out flyers to tenants providing legal advice on what to do and what numbers to call for rental assistance and how to obtain continuances.  The whole thrust seemed to be applying for rental assistance and making the landlord at least substantially whole – whatever that means.

My mind immediately began to spin about the implications of this for landlords.  I was at a docket a week prior and the Judge was handing out automatic continuances if the renter could show THEY APPLIED for rental assistance.  So months and months are going by while assistance is being obtained.

But what about all the owners who have month-to-month tenants who have now decided to sell their property or better yet move into their own property.  These landlords do not want the tenant’s rent, they want the house back to sell or live in – or quit possibly the tenant has been paying under market rent for several years or decades and now with housing appreciation, the landlord wants to raise the rent, or sell the property.


I do not see how these types of services are going to make a difference.  However I would strongly encourage landlords with properties in Kansas City, Missouri – ONLY DO MONTH TO MONTH LEASES, if it is a term lease the Judge is going to give the tenant an automatic right to apply for housing assistance, etc….. like reinstatement rights in a mortgage and its hard to imagine the outside boundaries of that.  Evictions could take 6 months a year? ALSO, ADD SOME FORM OF RE-REINSTATEMENT FEE IF THE LEASE IS A TERM LEASE AND YOU FIND YOURSELF IN THIS VERY SITUATION.  If it is not in the lease it will not be allowed.  I suppose some of this is to shift the burden of housing back onto the landlords but it seems to me this is just going to make renting harder and less affordable.



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June 2022