Mississippi Landlord Tenant Law

Looking for clear and concise information on Mississippi landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the Mississippi Landlord Tenant Act.

MS Landlord Tenant Law:

  • Mississippi Code Title 89, Chapter 8 - Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

Tenant Application

Application Fees

The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging $25 to $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.

Background and Credit Check

Before running background or credit checks on tenant applicants, landlords must first obtain the applicant's written permission. [Fair Credit Reporting Act § 604(a)(3)(F)]

For landlords to run background and credit checks, the tenant application form needs to ask for the applicant's:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • social security number or ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number)
  • current address
  • signed consent (e.g. "I authorize the use of the information and contacts provided to complete a credit, reference, and/or background check.")

Avoiding Discrimination

The federal Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from rejecting prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, nationality, sex, *familial status or physical/mental disability. *Familial status means landlords cannot reject someone for having one or more children under 18. Familial status also includes pregnant women and people planning to have (or adapt) children under 18.

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Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement (also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement) can be written or verbal.

The landlord and tenant can choose between a month to month tenancy or fixed term lease. For a month to month tenancy, the landlord or tenant can change its terms and conditions at the end of every month. For a fixed term lease, the landlord and tenant CANNOT change the lease terms and conditions during its duration... unless there is written consent from both parties.

In the absence of a rental agreement, the tenancy shall be month to month by default. If the tenant pays rent every week, then the tenancy shall be week to week.

Required for Tenancy Agreement

Mississippi landlord tenant law requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:

  • Disclosure and information of lead-based paint in the property (for housing built before 1978)

Recommended for Tenancy Agreement

  • Name and address of tenant(s)
  • Number of people (occupants) staying on the property
  • Type of tenancy: month to month tenancy or fixed term lease
  • How much is the rent
  • When, how and where the rent is to be paid
  • When is rent is considered late and the penalties for late rent payment
  • How much is the security deposit and pet deposit (if any)
  • Who holds the deposit(s) and where will it be held
  • What utilities and services are provided and who pays for them
  • What are the landlord's and tenant's duties for property maintenance
  • Can the tenant sublet the property or assign the lease
  • When to inform the landlord if tenant will be away for a long time
  • Prohibited activities and items

Disallowed for Tenancy Agreement

According to Mississippi landlord tenant law, your lease agreement CANNOT:

  • permit the landlord or tenant to get a confession of judgment against the other party (on a claim arising from the rental agreement) [MS 89-8-5.(a)]
  • dismiss or limit the landlord's liability if he or she commits a wrongful act (that may harm the tenant) on purpose [MS 89-8-5.(b)]

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Security Deposit

Mississippi landlord tenant law does not limit the maximum amount of security deposit that the landlord can ask (as long as the tenant is agreeable).

There are no Mississippi landlord tenant laws on security deposit holding methods and security deposit interest.

Deductions and Returns

Mississippi landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions. [MS 89-8-21.(3)]
  
Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under Mississippi landlord tenant law) include:

  • Rent owed
  • Property cleaning after termination of tenancy
  • Property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Costs and losses incurred by landlord due to the tenant failing in his or her duties [MS 89-8-25] - See Tenant Responsibilities and Duties below

The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.

Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a list of security deposit deductions and refund any remaining deposit within 45 days. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing.
   
If the landlord fails to follow Mississippi landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the tenant can recover actual damages plus an additional amount (of up to $200). [MS 89-8-21.(4)]

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Jackson, Mississippi MS

Mississippi Landlord Tenant Law

Rent

Late Rent

There are no Mississippi landlord tenant statutes on imposing charges for late rent payments.

If the landlord wants to impose late rent charges, it has to be specified in the tenancy agreement. While there are no state laws on late fees, landlords cannot overcharge or impose unfair terms. Otherwise the tenant can refuse to pay and challenge the late fees in court.

Most states consider reasonable late fees to be around 3 to 5% of the rent amount. In addition, landlords should wait until rent payment is at least three days late before charging late fees.

The penalties for bounced checks is $30. [MS 97-19-75.(5)]

Raising Rent

There are no specific Mississippi landlord tenant statutes on raising rent.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When can the landlord raise the rent?
  • How many days notice does the landlord have to give before raising the rent?
  • How many days notice does the tenant have to give if he or she is moving out due to the rent increase?
  • Maximum amount or percentage of rent increase (optional)

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Property Maintenance

Landlord Duties and Responsibilities

The Mississippi Landlord Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition [MS 89-8-23]:

  • Compliance: Obey all building and housing codes that affect health and safety
  • Maintenance: Maintain all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen facilities in safe working condition

Tenant Duties and Responsibilities

Mississippi landlord tenant law also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition [MS 89-8-25]:

  • Compliance: Obey all building and housing codes that affect health and safety. Avoid engaging in illegal activities on the property
  • Cleanliness: Keep the property clean and safe (as far as conditions will allow)
  • Waste Disposal: Dispose all waste from the property in a clean and safe manner
  • Proper Usage: Use all facilities and appliances properly. This includes all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen and common area facilities (e.g. elevators).
  • Property Damage: Avoid property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by the tenant, occupants or tenant's guests. Inform the landlord of any condition that may cause property damage
  • Neighbors: Avoid disturbing neighbors and also disallow others from disturbing neighbors

If Landlord Fails to Maintain Property

If the landlord fails in his or her responsibilities, the tenant has two choices:

1. The tenant can terminate the tenancy and move out [MS 89-8-13.(3)]

The tenant must give the landlord a written notice stating the problem and giving the landlord 30 days to fix it, or else the tenant will move out in 30 days. If the problem is fixed within 30 days (of the landlord receiving this notice), the tenancy shall continue.

If the same problem recurs within six months, the tenant may terminate the tenancy with a written 14 day notice to quit.

2. The tenant can make repairs and claim the costs from the landlord [MS 89-8-15]

The tenant must give the landlord a written notice stating the problem and giving the landlord 30 days to fix it. If the landlord fails to make repairs within 30 days, the tenant can make repairs and claim the costs from the landlord or deduct the costs from rent within 45 days... IF all of the following conditions are met:

  • Tenant has fulfilled all his or her Tenant Duties and Responsibilities [MS 89-8-25]
  • The repairs costs do not exceed one month's rent
  • Tenant hasn't claimed repair costs from the landlord in the past six months
  • Tenant isn't late in paying rent
  • Tenant has submitted the repair bills and receipts to the landlord

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Property Access

There are no Mississippi landlord tenant statutes on when and how the landlord can enter the property.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When does the landlord require the tenant's permission to enter the property?
    Examples: Making repairs, supplying essential services, inspecting for damages, showing property to prospective buyers or tenants
  • How long in advance should the landlord inform the tenant before entering the property?
  • When is the landlord allowed to enter the property without the tenant's permission?
    Examples: Handling emergencies (such as smoke, fire, flooding or explosion), tenant has abandoned the property
  • What are the penalties if the tenant refuses the landlord's valid request to enter the property?
  • What are the penalties if the landlord enters the property without the tenant's permission or without a valid reason?

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Subletting

There are no specific Mississippi landlord tenant laws on subletting.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • Is the tenant allowed to sublet the property? If yes, is the landlord's written consent required before the tenant can sublet?
  • Is the landlord allowed to screen and reject every prospective subtenant?
  • Can the landlord ask for additional rent and security deposit if the tenant sublets?

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Biloxi, Mississippi MS

Biloxi, Mississippi MS

Termination of Tenancy

Number of Days for Notice to Quit

Mississippi landlord tenant law requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit before terminating a tenancy.
   
For a week to week tenancy, you must give this notice at least seven days before the termination date. [MS 89-8-19.(2)]
   
For a month to month tenancy, you have to give this notice at least 30 days in advance. [MS 89-8-19.(3)]

TENANT

If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:

Landlord failed to maintain property

30 days

Landlord violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties

30 days

Landlord Violated Tenancy Agreement or Didn't Perform Duties

If the landlord violates the tenancy agreement or fails to perform his or her duties (see Landlord Duties and Responsibilities above), the tenant can send the landlord a 30 day written notice to terminate the tenancy. [MS 89-8-13.(2)]

This written notice has to state what is the landlord's violation or failure in duty. If the landlord corrects the problem within 30 days, the tenancy shall continue.

However if the landlord violates the tenancy agreement (or fails in his or her duty) in a similar manner within six months, the tenant can send the landlord a 14 day written notice stating the landlord's violation and lease termination date. In this case, the tenancy will have to terminate.

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Eviction

According to Mississippi landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:

Tenant did not pay rent

3 days

Tenant violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties

30 days

Tenant Did Not Pay Rent

If the tenant did not pay rent on time, the landlord can send the tenant a three day written notice to terminate the tenancy. This notice must state the amount of rent owed and inform the tenant that he or she can choose to pay or move out. [MS 89-7-27]

If the rent is paid within seven days, the tenant may continue staying on the property.

Tenant Violated Tenancy Agreement or Didn't Perform Duties

If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement, the landlord can send the tenant a 30 day written notice to terminate the tenancy. [MS 89-8-13.(1)]

Similarly if the tenant fails to perform his or her duties (as required by Mississippi landlord tenant law), the landlord can also send the tenant a 30 day written notice to terminate the tenancy.

This written notice has to state what is the tenant's violation or failure in duty. If the tenant corrects the problem within 30 days, the tenant may stay. [AK 34.03.220.(a)(2)]

However if the tenant violates the tenancy agreement (or fails in his or her duty) in a similar manner within six months, the landlord can evict the tenant by sending him or her a written 14 day notice. In this case, the tenant must move out.

Self-Help Eviction

After the rental agreement expires, Mississippi landlord tenant law ALLOWS the landlord to force the tenant to move out and take possession of the property. In addition, the landlord can shut off utilities (e.g. electricity, water, gas, sanitation) or demand a rent increase. [MS 89-8-17]

However the landlord cannot take the above actions to retaliate against a tenant who is exercising his or her rights.

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Abandonment

When is it Abandonment?

There are no specific Mississippi landlord tenant laws on when the property is considered abandoned by the tenant.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When is the property considered abandoned by the tenant? - Tenant hasn't paid rent for X days, Tenant has been absent from the property for X days (without informing the landlord)
  • After the property is abandoned, does the tenant have to continue paying rent until the landlord finds a new tenant?

Dealing with Abandoned Belongings

If a judge grants possession of the rental property to the landlord (in a court hearing), the judge shall give the tenant a deadline to remove his or her personal belongings. If the tenant does not remove them within the deadline, the landlord may dispose the abandoned belongings. [MS 89-7-31.(2)]

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Resources

Mississippi Landlord Tenant Law: Mississippi Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

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