When does a guest become a tenant in missouri?

When does a guest become a tenant in missouri?


Determining when a guest becomes a tenant in Missouri is an important consideration for both landlords and tenants. Understanding the legal distinction between a guest and a tenant can help avoid potential disputes and ensure that the rights and responsibilities of both parties are properly addressed. In this article, we will delve into the factors that determine when a guest becomes a tenant in Missouri, providing clarity on this often misunderstood topic.

Definition of a Guest

In Missouri, a guest is typically defined as someone who is invited onto the premises by the tenant or property owner for a temporary stay. A guest does not have any legal rights to occupy the property and is not responsible for paying rent or adhering to the terms of a lease agreement. The key distinction between a guest and a tenant lies in the duration of their stay and their level of control over the property.

Factors Determining Tenancy

While there is no specific timeframe that automatically converts a guest into a tenant in Missouri, several factors are considered when determining whether a guest has become a tenant:

1. Duration of Stay: If a guest stays on the property for an extended period, such as several weeks or months, this can be an indication that they may have transitioned into a tenant. However, the length of stay alone is not the sole determining factor.

2. Payment of Rent: If a guest starts contributing financially towards the property’s expenses, such as paying rent or utilities, this can be seen as an indication of tenancy. Even sporadic or partial payments can be considered as evidence of a tenant-landlord relationship.

3. Exclusive Possession: If a guest is given exclusive possession of a specific area or room within the property, they may be considered a tenant. This means they have control over that space and can exclude others from using it.

4. Intent of the Parties: The intentions of both the landlord and the guest are crucial in determining tenancy. If both parties agree that the guest is a tenant, even if the other factors are not clearly present, it can establish a tenant-landlord relationship.

It is important to note that these factors are considered collectively, and no single factor alone determines tenancy. The court will examine the totality of the circumstances to make a determination.

Consequences of Tenancy

Once a guest is deemed a tenant, they gain certain legal protections and responsibilities. As a tenant, they have the right to occupy the property and enjoy the quiet enjoyment of the premises. They are also entitled to the protections provided by the Missouri Landlord-Tenant Law, including the right to proper notice before eviction.

On the other hand, tenants are also responsible for fulfilling their obligations under the lease agreement, such as paying rent on time and maintaining the property in a reasonable condition. They may also be subject to eviction if they violate the terms of the lease or fail to pay rent.


Determining when a guest becomes a tenant in Missouri involves considering various factors such as the duration of stay, payment of rent, exclusive possession, and the intent of the parties. While there is no specific timeframe that automatically converts a guest into a tenant, these factors collectively help establish a tenant-landlord relationship. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for both landlords and tenants to ensure their rights and responsibilities are properly addressed.


– Missouri Revised Statutes: Chapter 441 – Landlord and Tenant
– Missouri Legal Aid: Tenants’ Rights in Missouri
– Missouri Attorney General: Landlord-Tenant Law