Verbal farm rental agreements under Missouri law
"Verbal farm leases are a tradition in Missouri agriculture. Oral farm leases continue to make up around one-half of all farm leases. Two parties, a landowner and a tenant, discuss a rental farm, the method of sharing expenses and income, and shake hands. They've made a verbal rental agreement. Many agricultural leases are formed this way. Unfortunately, informal verbal leases cannot cover all of the problems and possible conflicts that may arise under leases. It is important for landowners and prospective tenants to know the laws that control verbal and written agreements. A dispute arises when a disagreement over contract terms cannot be settled. Memories fade, circumstances change or the parties involved can change -- all of which lead to questions over the terms of the lease. This can lead to a costly lawsuit and a loss of valuable farming time. Making a written agreement will not prevent a lawsuit in all situations. But the terms of written agreements are not as subject to dispute as verbal agreements and a well-written farm lease will cover and address the "gaps" that are inevitable in a verbal lease. This publication deals with problems of lease duration, notice of termination, invalid verbal agreements, subleases and assignments, death of a landlord or tenant, life estates, security for rent, holdover remedies, sharecropper agreements, and the rights, duties and liabilities of both the landlord and the tenant. With regard to the landlord-tenant relationship, some parts of the law are not clear. Also, landlord-tenant cases are often settled out of court because of the amount of money involved. Therefore, there are not answers to every question that might arise. Some answers, given by courts, were expressed many years ago when farming practices were much different. Courts today might give a different answer. This publication is merely a guideline to help you understand problems and risks created with verbal agricultural leases. It is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a substitute for competent legal advice. Check with an attorney for legal advice regarding your specific situation."--Abstract
Archive version. For the most recent information see extension.missouri.edu.
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