Cost of security deposits could rise for Missouri renters

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 | 9:08 p.m. CST; updated 2:01 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 10, 2011

*CORRECTION: Rep. Jason Kander, D-Kansas City, does not support the bill raising security deposits for Missouri renters. An earlier version of this article misidentified his stance.

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri renters could be charged higher security deposit fees under a bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

The bill, proposed by Rep. David Sater, R-Cassville, would increase the amount a landlord can demand at the outset of a leasing agreement.

The current statute allows a landlord to ask for no more than two months' rent. The proposed bill increases the limit to no more than three months' rent.

Rep. Jason Kander, D-Kansas City, accused the bill's sponsor of a "conflict of interest," pointing out that Sater and a number of other committee members own rental property.*

Kander, noting his own status as a landlord, said to avoid such a conflict, should he have supported the bill, his vote would have been "present" or a non-vote. He asked the committee to follow suit and instead of voting for their own financial concerns, to consider those of their tenants.

"In a time when it's not great economic times, it doesn't really make a lot of sense to me that we would take steps to make it more difficult for folks to be able to afford a place to live," Kander said.

Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, voted yes on the bill. He called the piece of legislation "evolving" and said he believes future versions of the bill will include more of a compromise. Kelly said he is currently working with the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia, to "come to a better resolution."

The bill passed the committee by a 7-5 vote.

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