Real Estate Law
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The insect infestation and the dangerous furnace would make the property uninhabitable under Missouri law so would give him legal grounds to terminate the lease and vacate. The statutory law requires the landlord to provide premises that are fit and safe for human habitation. If the landlord refused to return his money, he can sue the landlord in small claims court for its return and for any other damages he incurs due to the landlord breaching the implied warranty of habitability inherent in any lease.
Son would need to take lots of pictures of the place and keep any documentation about the furnace being unsafe to use as proof in his small claims case if the guy won't refund his money. He can also tell the landlord that he will be calling Code Enforcement to come and inspect if he doesn't return his money and they can cite the landlord for everything in the dwelling that is a violation and force him to make repairs or be fined every day after a set deadline..
As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...
You are very welcome.
The landlord sounds like a real piece of work... This is a strictly civil matter so the police can't and won't do anything if either of them calls unless there is a violation of the law, like a breach of the peace.
So at this point, son's best recourse is to take a bunch of pictures of the place and keep the documentation, probably a red tag, from the gas company and then demand his money back. If the landlord refuses, son should tell him that he is immediately going down to file suit that day and his next call will be to Code Enforcement or the Housing Inspector to schedule a full inspection of the property. If that doesn't scare the landlord into refunding the money, then son needs to do exactly that..
You are very welcome. Glad to help any time..
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