Mississippi

Mississippi Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

Authored By: North Mississippi Rural Legal Services LSC Funded

Information

Mississippi Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

  1. Landlord/Tenant Relationship - Landlord/Tenant Act
  2. Can the landlord adopt new rules after I move in?
  3. What if there is a breach of the lease?
  4. What procedure must I use?
  5. What if the breach is cured?
  6. What if it is a recurring problem?
  7. What is the tenant entitled to if the lease is breached due to the landlord's action?
  8. What if I do not want to end the lease?
  9. Is there any limit on making repairs?
  10. What are the landlord's rights after expiration of lease?
  11. How much notice must be given prior to termination of the lease?
  12. What is the purpose of the tenant's security deposit?
  13. What can the deposit be used for?
  14. How long does the landlord have to return my deposit to me?
  15. What are the landlord's duties?
  16. What are the tenant's duties?
  17. Obligation to act in good faith

Landlord/Tenant Relationship - Landlord/Tenant Act

The "Residential Landlord and Tenant Act" outlines the rights, obligations, and remedies in Mississippi under any rental agreement. The provisions of this Act apply only to traditional residential "lease" situations--not to condominiums, cooperatives, or land leased for agricultural purposes. The exercise of any right or remedy under this Act is obligated to be done with good faith, honest belief, and fair dealing.

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Can the landlord adopt new rules after I move in?

Yes. A landlord may at times adopt rules concerning tenant's use and occupancy of the premises. They are enforceable against the tenant only if:

Their purpose is to promote the convenience, safety, or welfare of the tenants in the premises, preserve the landlord's property from abuse, or make a fair distribution of services and facilities provided for the tenants. Generally, they are reasonably related to the purpose for which they are adopted; they apply to all tenants in the premises in a fair manner; they are sufficiently explicit in their prohibition, direction, or limitation of the tenant's conduct to fairly inform him of what he must or must not do to comply; and they are not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord. A regulation adopted or amended after the tenant enters into the rental agreement is enforceable against the tenant if reasonable notice of its adoption or amendment is given to the tenant and it does not work a substantial modification of the rental agreement. Unless otherwise agreed, the tenant shall occupy his dwelling unit only as a dwelling unit.

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What if there is a breach of the lease?

If a party (whether landlord or tenant) makes a material breach of the lease (or fails to fulfill his duties as a landlord or tenant as outlined by law), the non-breaching party may end the tenancy or resort to any other legal remedy.

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What procedure must I use?

You may deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than 30 days after receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied within a reasonable time not in excess of 30 days. If the tenant's material breach is nonpayment of rent pursuant to the lease, the landlord is not required to deliver 30 days written notice.

The lease shall terminate and the tenant shall surrender possession as provided in the notice.

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What if the breach is cured?

If the breach is remediable by repairs or the payment of damages and the breaching party adequately remedies the breach prior to the date specified in the notice, the rental agreement shall not terminate.

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What if it is a recurring problem?

If the same breach (of which written notice was given) occurs within 6 months of that initial notice, the no breaching party may terminate the lease upon at least 14 days written notice specifying the breach and the date of termination of the lease.

Neither party may end the tenancy for a condition caused by his own deliberate or negligent breach.

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What is the tenant entitled to if the lease is breached due to the landlord's action?

If the lease is terminated, the landlord shall return all prepaid and unearned rent and security deposit by the tenant.

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What if I do not want to end the lease?

If, after 30 days of receipt of written notice, the landlord fails to repair a defect constituting a material breach of lease or duty, you may repair such defect yourself, and shall be entitled to reimbursement of the repair costs within 45 days after submission to the landlord of receipted bills for such work, provided you have fulfilled your duties as a tenant.

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Is there any limit on making repairs?

The repair costs cannot exceed an amount equal to one month's rent; you can not have exercised this remedy within the preceding six (6) months; and you must be current in your rental payments.

You are not entitled to reimbursement for repair costs higher than the customary charge for such repairs. A tenant's repair costs may be offset against future rent.

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What are the landlord's rights after expiration of lease?

At any time after expiration of the lease, a landlord may: 1) recover possession of the dwelling unit; 2) make the tenant involuntarily leave; 3) demand an increase in rent; or 4) decrease services to tenant (if not done in retaliation to tenant's prior written notice of material breach).

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How much notice must be given prior to termination of the lease?

Unless the lease fixes a definite term, the length of tenancy shall be week to week (if a tenant pays weekly rent) and in all other cases, month to month.

Termination of a week-to-week tenancy requires written notice from either the landlord or tenant given at least 7 days prior to the termination date.

Termination of a month-to-month tenancy requires written notice from either the landlord or tenant given at least 30 days prior to the termination date.

Notice to terminate tenancy is not required when either party commits a substantial breach of lease or duty that materially affects health and safety.

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What is the purpose of the tenant's security deposit?

Any payment or deposit of money, the primary function of which is to secure the performance of a rental agreement or any part of such an agreement, other than a payment or deposit, including an advance payment of rent, made to secure the execution of a rental agreement.

The landlord for the tenant who is a party to such agreement shall hold any such payment or deposit of money. The claim of a tenant to such payment or deposit shall be prior to the claim of any creditor of the landlord.

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What can the deposit be used for?

The landlord, by written notice delivered to the tenant, may claim of such payment or deposit only such amounts as are reasonably necessary to remedy the tenant's defaults in the payment of rent, to repair damages to the premises caused by the tenant, exclusive of ordinary wear and tear, to clean such premises upon termination of the tenancy, or for other reasonable and necessary expenses incurred as the result of the tenant's default, if the payment or deposit is made for any or all of those specific purposes. The written notice by which the landlord claims all or any portion of such payment or deposit shall itemize the amounts claimed by such landlord.

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How long does the landlord have to return my deposit to me?

Any remaining portion of such payment or deposit shall be returned to the tenant no later than forty-five (45) days after the termination of his tenancy, the delivery of possession and demand by the tenant.

The retention by a landlord or transferee of a payment or deposit or any portion thereof, in violation of this section and with absence of good faith, may subject the landlord or his transferee to damages not to exceed Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) in addition to any actual damages.

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What are the landlord's duties?

  • A landlord shall at all times during the tenancy comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
  • They shall also maintain the dwelling unit, its plumbing, heating and/or cooling system, in substantially the same condition as at the inception of the lease, reasonable wear and tear excluded, unless the dwelling unit, its plumbing, heating and/or cooling system is damaged or impaired as a result of the deliberate or negligent actions of the tenant.
  • The landlord and tenant may agree in writing that the tenant perform some or all of the landlord's duties under this section, but only if the transaction is entered into in good faith.
  • No duty on the part of the landlord shall arise in connection with a defect, which is caused, by the tenant's affirmative act or failure to comply with his obligations.
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What are the tenant's duties?

  • A tenant shall keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses as clean and as safe as the condition of the premises permits;
  • Dispose from his dwelling unit all ashes, rubbish, garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner in compliance with community standards;
  • Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits;
  • Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, in the premises;
  • Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any other person to do so;
  • Conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with his consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb his neighbors' peaceful enjoyment of their premises;
  • Inform the landlord of any condition of which he has actual knowledge which may cause damage to the premises;
  • To the extent of his legal obligation, maintain the dwelling unit in substantially the same condition, reasonable wear and tear excepted, and comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety; and
  • Not engage in any illegal activity upon the leased premises as documented by a law enforcement agency.
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Obligation to act in good faith

Every duty and every act which must be performed as a condition precedent to the exercise of a right or remedy under this chapter, including the landlord's termination of a tenancy or nonrenewable of a lease, imposes an obligation of good faith in its performance or enforcement.

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