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Student Housing Practices

Written by Dr. Madeleine Roberts
Published on May 29, 2024
Research Highlights

Purpose-built student housing is built to accommodate students and is leased by-the-bed.

There are no MO regulations around early termination fees.

Certain groups, including in MO, military and victims of domestic violence, can terminate a lease early outside of the terms of the agreement.

There are two types of off-campus student housing.

In university communities, off-campus student housing consists of student-competitive housing (conventional rental units located close to campus) and purpose-built student housing (rental properties built specifically for student renters). Purpose-built student housing is designed for student renters and is leased by-the-bed or by-the-room. Properties tend to provide amenities such as study rooms, recreation facilities, and locations close to campus.

In purpose-built student housing, multiple students share a unit, usually with shared common spaces and individual bedrooms/bathrooms. This design can lend itself to in-unit conflict between tenants. While there is no standardized process or obligation to play a role in resolving conflict, it is a common practice for landlords of purpose-built student housing to shift conflicting roommates into different units (Personal communication, National Apartment Association). However, this practice is done entirely by discretion of property management, and there is no obligation for a landlord to relieve a tenant from their lease terms due to in-unit conflict.


Student renters have the same rights and responsibilities as any other renter.

MO landlord-renter rights and obligations can be found in RSMo 441.005-880, 535.010-300 and 213.040.

A landlord must:

  • Provide a safe and habitable rental unit
  • Make and pay for timely maintenance
  • Not turn off utilities
  • Provide written notice when the property is sold to a new landlord.
  • Not unlawfully discriminate against renters

Renters must:

  • Follow terms of the lease agreement
  • Pay rent on time
  • Take care of unit
  • Pay for damages due to their own negligence
  • Not take on additional occupants or subletters without permission of the landlord

MO statute allows landlords to collect a maximum 2 months rent as a security deposit. Additional fees, including non-refundable fees to tour a unit or apply to rent, are not regulated.

States regulate when leases can be terminated early outside of lease terms.

For a renter that wants to move out before the end of the lease agreement, the landlord could agree to cancel the lease. In MO there is no regulation of a penalty for early termination that can be included as a term of the lease; the tenant may be responsible for a fee or for paying the rest of the lease term.

Special circumstances exist in some states for certain groups of renters to terminate a lease outside the terms of the lease agreement (Table 1).

Table 1. States with special provisions for a renter to terminate a lease early.



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Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1318.01 (2024). https://www.azleg.gov/ars/33/01318-01.htm

California Civil Code section 1946.7. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySectionNum=1946.7

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-402 (2019). https://dcs.colorado.gov/sites/dcs/files/CRS%202019%20Title%2038.pdf

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-11e. https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_830.htm

Del. Code tit. 25, § 5314. https://delcode.delaware.gov/title25/c053/index.html#:~:text=%C2%A7%205314.

HI Rev Stat § 521-80 (2023). https://law.justia.com/codes/hawaii/title-28/chapter-521/section-521-80/

765 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 750/15. https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2817&ChapterID=62

Ind. Code § 32-31-9-1. https://statecodesfiles.justia.com/indiana/2013/title-32/article-31/chapter-9/chapter-9.pdf

SP0305, 2015 Reg. Sess. (ME 2015). https://legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/display_ps.asp=127

Md. Code Real Prop., § 8-5A-02. https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Laws/StatuteText

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann, ch. 186 § 24. https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleI/Chapter186/Section24

Mich. Comp. Laws § 554.601b. https://www.legislature.mi.gov/Laws/MCL?objectName=MCL-554-601B#:~:text=A%20rental%20agreement%20may%20contain,under%20MCL%20554.601b.%22.

Mich. Comp. Laws § 554.601a. https://www.legislature.mi.gov/Laws/MCL?objectName=mcl-554-601a

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 504B.206. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/2007/cite/504B.206

MO Rev. Stat. § 441.920. https://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection.aspx?section=441.920

NE Rev. Stat. § 55-702 https://nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=55-702

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 118A.340. https://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/nrs-118a.html#NRS118ASec340

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 118A.345, 118A.347 https://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/nrs-118a.html#

N.J. Stat. § 46:8-9.2, 8-9.6, 8-9.8. https://lis.njleg.state.nj.us/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates&fn=default.htm&vid=Publish:10.1048/Enu

N.Y. Real Prop. Law § 227-c. https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/RPP/227-C

N.Y. Real Prop. Law § 227-a. https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/RPP/227-A

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-45.1. https://www.ncleg.gov/EnactedLegislation/Chapter_42/GS_42-45.1.pdf

N.D. Cen. Code 47-16. https://ndlegis.gov/cencode/t47c16.pdf

Ore. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 90.453. https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/ors/ors090.html

R.I. Gen. Laws § 34-18-15. https://webserver.rilegislature.gov/Statutes/TITLE34/34-18/34-18-15.htm

SDCL § 43-32-19.1. https://sdlegislature.gov/Statutes/43-32-19.1

T.X. Prop. Code 8.96.016. https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PR/htm/PR.92.htm#92.016

Utah Code Ann. § 57-22-5.1. https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title57/Chapter22/57-22-S5.1.html

9 V.S.A. § 4467. https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/09/137/04467

Va. Code Ann. §§ 55.1-1208, 55.1-1236, 55.1-1230 (2020). https://law.lis.virginia.gov/section55.1-1230/

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § § 59.18.575. https://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=59.18.575

W.Y. Stat § 1-21-1303 (2022). https://law.justia.com/codes/wyoming/2022/title-1/chapter-21/article-13/section-1-21-1303/

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