1.  In the twenty-second judicial circuit, upon adoption of an ordinance by the City of St. Louis providing for expenditure of city funds for such purpose, a majority of the circuit judges, en banc, may establish a landlord-tenant court, which shall be a division of the circuit court, and may authorize the appointment of not more than two landlord-tenant court commissioners.  The landlord-tenant court commissioners shall be appointed by a landlord-tenant court judicial commission consisting of the presiding judge of the circuit, who shall be the chair, one circuit judge elected by the circuit judges, one associate circuit judge elected by the associate circuit judges of the circuit, and two members appointed by the mayor of the City of St. Louis, each of whom shall represent one of the two political parties casting the highest number of votes at the next preceding gubernatorial election.  The procedures and operations of the landlord-tenant court judicial commission shall be established by circuit court rule.

 2.  Landlord-tenant commissioners may be authorized to hear in the first instance disputes involving landlords and their tenants.  Landlord-tenant commissioners shall be authorized to make findings of fact and conclusions of law, and to issue orders for the payment of money, for the giving or taking of possession of residential property and any other equitable relief necessary to resolve disputes governed by the laws in chapters 441, 524, 534, and this chapter.  Landlord-tenant commissioners may not, by ex parte means, hear cases and issue orders.

Terms Used In Missouri Laws 535.200

  • Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • Appellate: About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgement of another lower court or tribunal.
  • Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • En banc: In the bench or "full bench." Refers to court sessions with the entire membership of a court participating rather than the usual quorum. U.S. courts of appeals usually sit in panels of three judges, but may expand to a larger number in certain cases. They are then said to be sitting en banc.
  • Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • person: may extend and be applied to bodies politic and corporate, and to partnerships and other unincorporated associations. See Missouri Laws 1.020
  • Property: includes real and personal property. See Missouri Laws 1.020
  • State: when applied to any of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the territories, and the words "United States" includes such district and territories. See Missouri Laws 1.020
  • Summons: Another word for subpoena used by the criminal justice system.
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.

 3.  Landlord-tenant commissioners shall be licensed to practice law in this state and shall serve at the pleasure of a majority of the circuit and associate circuit judges, en banc, and shall be residents of the City of St. Louis, and shall receive as annual compensation an amount equal to one-third of the annual compensation of an associate circuit judge.  Landlord-tenant commissioners shall not accept or handle cases in their practice of law which are inconsistent with their duties as a landlord-tenant commissioner and shall not be a judge or prosecutor for any other court.  Landlord-tenant commissioners shall not be considered state employees and shall not be members of the state employees’ or judicial retirement system or be eligible to receive any other employment benefit accorded state employees or judges.

 4.  A majority of the judges of the circuit, en banc, shall establish operating procedures for the landlord-tenant court.  Proceedings in the landlord-tenant court shall be conducted as in cases tried before an associate circuit judge.  The hearing shall be before a landlord-tenant commissioner without jury, and the commissioner shall assume an affirmative duty to determine the merits of the evidence presented and the defenses of the defendant and may question parties and witnesses.  Clerks and computer personnel shall be assigned as needed for the efficient operation of the court.

 5.  The parties to a cause of action before a commissioner of the landlord-tenant court are entitled to file with the court a motion for a hearing in associate circuit court within ten days after the mailing, or within ten days after service.

 6.  Operating procedures shall be provided for electronic recording of proceedings at city expense.  Any person aggrieved by a judgment in a case decided under this section shall have a right to a trial de novo in circuit court, or an appeal to the appropriate appellate court, in the same manner as would a person aggrieved by a decision of an associate circuit judge under section 535.110.  The procedures for perfecting the right of a trial de novo or an appeal shall be the same as that provided pursuant to sections 512.180 to 512.320.

 7.  Any summons issued for the proceedings in the landlord-tenant court shall have a return date of ten days.  The sheriff must attempt to serve any summons within four days of the date of issuance.

 8.  All costs to establish and operate a landlord-tenant court under this section shall be borne by the City of St. Louis.