Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF MILLER COUNTY, MISSOURI THE
HONORABLE JON A. KALTENBRONN, JUDGE
Before: Thomas H. Newton, Presiding Judge, Cynthia L. Martin,
Judge and Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Judge
R. ARDINI, JR., JUDGE
Johannes ("Johannes") appeals the judgment of the
trial court in an unlawful detainer action finding her
possession of an apartment owned by Doris Kocina
("Kocina") to be wrongful and ordering her to pay
damages in the amount of "double the reasonable rental
value of the property" from August 18, 2015, to
September 10, 2015, as well as court costs.
appeal, Johannes alleges that she was a month-to-month
at-will tenant and entitled to one month's notice of
termination under sections 441.060.3 and
534.030.1. Thus, Johannes argues that Kocina did not
have standing to file her complaint for unlawful detainer
until her tenancy terminated after the expiration of the
statutorily required one-month notice period. We find that
there was no landlord-tenant relationship between Johannes
and Kocina and, therefore, that Kocina did have standing to
file her complaint for unlawful detainer against Johannes.
alleges in her second point on appeal that the trial court
erred in assessing court costs against her because she was
represented by Mid-Missouri Legal Service, Corp., which filed
a Certificate of Inability to Pay Costs, Fees, and Expenses
pursuant to section 514.040.3. We find that the trial court
erred in assessing court costs against
Johannes. As to those costs, the trial court's
judgment is reversed and remanded for entry of judgment
consistent with this opinion.
Facts and Procedural History
son entered into an oral employment agreement with Kocina
wherein he agreed to provide maintenance at an apartment
complex owned by Kocina in exchange for a furnished apartment
and utilities. Johannes moved in with her son. On or about
June 30, 2015, Johannes' son informed Kocina that he
would not continue providing maintenance at the apartments,
thereby terminating his tenancy.
offered Johannes' son the option to continue living in
the apartment at $500 per month, but he rejected the proposed
arrangement. After Johannes' son terminated the
employment agreement, he did not provide any further services
to Kocina, make any rental payments, or pay for utilities.
Johannes' son vacated the apartment in early August, but
his personal possessions remained and Johannes continued to
live in the apartment. On August 18, 2015, Johannes was
served with a written notice to deliver possession of the
apartment to Kocina. Johannes remained in the apartment until
September 10, 2015.
Kocina filed a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer on August 26,
2015. After a bench trial, the trial court entered judgment
finding that, while the notice referenced a month-to-month
tenancy, Johannes never had an agreement with Kocina to
occupy the premises and her possession after August 18, 2015,
was thus wrongful. The judgment ordered Johannes to pay
double the "reasonable rental value of the
property" from August 18, 2015 to September 10, 2015,
and ordered court costs be paid by Johannes and her son.
Johannes appeals the judgment against her.
Standard of Review
court-tried civil case, the court's judgment will be
affirmed "unless there is no substantial evidence to
support it, unless it is against the weight of the evidence,
unless it erroneously declares the law, or unless it
erroneously applies the law." Murphy v. Carron,
536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976).
alleges two points of error on appeal. First, Johannes
alleges that the trial court's judgment was in error
because the evidence established that she was a
month-to-month at-will tenant and entitled to one month's
notice of termination under sections 441.060.3 and 534.030.1.
As a result, Johannes argues, Kocina did not have standing to
file her complaint for unlawful detainer until after the
expiration of the required notice period. Johannes alleges in
her second point that the trial court erred in assessing
court costs against her because she was represented by
Mid-Missouri Legal Service, Corp., who filed ...