Rights, Regulations, & Landlord Tenant Laws - Mississippi Guide 
Mississippi landlords and tenants must navigate a complex web of local and state rental laws that significantly impact their rights and responsibilities within the landlord-tenant relationship. Even experienced landlords and renters may find it challenging to grasp the intricacies of these regulations.
To provide guidance, we've crafted this comprehensive guide on Mississippi's rental laws for 2023. You'll delve into familiar topics like tenant screening and evictions, but also explore lesser-known subjects like mandatory disclosures within lease agreements. With this guide in hand, both landlords and tenants will develop a thorough understanding of the laws outlined in the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
Landlords, you'll discover strategies to safeguard your rental properties and cultivate positive relationships with your tenants. Tenants, prepare to acquire invaluable insights into exercising your fundamental rights while residing in a rental home.
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Mississippi landlord tenant law fast facts
Mississippi landlord responsibilities and rights
Both landlords and tenants have fundamental rights in the state of Mississippi. For landlords, these rights help them operate a successful rental business protected from potential legal issues. Some of their main rights are:
- Collecting rent payments when due
- Charging a security deposit to cover potential costs like damage beyond normal wear and tear
- Formally evicting a tenant if they breach the rental agreement
Mississippi rental owners also have a set of obligations to uphold that ensure a smooth tenancy and safe, habitable living environment for renters. Their main duties include:
- Providing a rental unit that meets basic health and safety regulations
- Making repairs within 14 days of receiving a tenant’s written notice
- Returning the tenant’s security deposit within 45 days of the end of the lease
Mississippi tenant responsibilities and rights
Like landlords, Mississippi rental law also provides renters with fundamental rights. For tenants, these laws ensure legal protection and safety during their tenancy. Some of their rights are as follows:
- Living in a safe and habitable rental unit that meets local health and safety codes
- Having repairs made in 14 days after providing the landlord with written notice
- If the landlord fails to make repairs, taking legal action such as suing
Mississippi renters too have obligations they must manage while residing in a rental unit. They must:
- Pay rent when due
- Keep the unit in a safe and habitable condition
- Keep plumbing fixtures and other designated appliances or rental areas clean
- Not disturb neighbors or other renters
- Not engage in any illegal activity on the rental premises
- Not deliberately damage any portion of the rental property
Mississippi landlord tenant law through the rental cycle
Mississippi tenant screening and rental application laws
Mississippi doesn’t have very many statutes governing the rental application and tenant screening process. For instance, the state does not limit how much a landlord can charge for an application or tenant screening fee, and application fees do not have to be refundable. Landlords are free to ask any questions on the rental application but are bound by the federal Fair Housing Act laws.
In Mississippi, landlords can run a background check only with a tenant’s consent. Landlords can conduct checks including credit reports, criminal history, or rental history.
Mississippi lease agreement laws
In Mississippi, both oral and written lease agreements are acceptable. However, it’s always recommended to have a written agreement as it outlines the rights and regulations of both the landlord and tenant.
While Mississippi doesn’t require specific clauses to be included in lease agreements, other than a lead-paint disclosure if applicable, there is certain information that should be included in a lease. Generally, landlords should include their name, phone number, rent amount, lease period, and security deposit information, along with more details.
Mississippi security deposit laws
Mississippi rental owners are allowed to collect a security deposit to cover unforeseen costs like property beyond normal wear and tear at the end of a lease. There is no maximum limit for what landlords can charge for the deposit.
Additional Mississippi security deposit regulations to be aware of include:
- Landlords do not have to provide a security deposit receipt.
- Landlords are not require to pay interest on security deposits.
- Security deposits do not have to be held in a separate account.
At the end of the lease term, Mississippi landlords have 45 days to return a tenant’s security deposit. Landlords can make deductions for reasons including unpaid rent, late fees, cleaning costs, costs due to the tenant’s default, and damage exceeding normal wear and tear.
If the landlord fails to comply with the notice period or wrongfully withholds funds, the tenant can sue for $200 plus actual damages.
Mississippi rent laws
Mississippi does not have rent control laws and also prohibits cities and towns from creating their own laws. This allows landlords to charge any amount of rent and increase rent as often as they choose. However, landlords cannot increase rent during the lease term unless the rental agreement allows for it. Before raising rent, landlords must provide tenants with a 30-day notice for month-to-month leases or a 7-day notice for weekly leases.
If tenants fail to pay rent when due, landlords can charge a late fee the day after, as Mississippi doesn’t have a grace period law. Additionally, there are no limits on late fees, but the fee must be mentioned on the lease agreement to be charged.
It’s important to note that Mississippi renters cannot withhold rent payments for any reason.
Mississippi repair and maintenance laws
Mississippi state law requires landlords to comply with building and housing codes that materially affect a tenant’s health and safety. This includes making repairs within 14 days of receiving written notice from renters.
If the landlord fails to make the necessary repairs within 14 days, Mississippi renters can take a few actions: sue for costs, file a court order to force the landlord to make repairs, or make minor repairs themselves and deduct the cost from their next rent payment. In severe cases, they can also cancel the rental agreement altogether. However, tenants are not allowed to abandoned the rental property.
Mississippi notice of entry laws
Mississippi rental owners can enter their units for reasons such as maintenance, inspections, and other reasons established in the lease agreement. Unless an emergency, landlords should provide advanced notice before entering a property (usually 24 to 48 hours), but Mississippi doesn’t have any specific statutes regarding notice of entry.
Mississippi eviction and lease termination laws
Mississippi allows landlords to evict tenants for certain legal reasons, and depending on the reason, landlords must provide a specific notice period. The reasons and notice periods for evictions in Mississippi are as follows:
- Unpaid rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord may issue a 3-day notice to pay. If the tenant still does not pay, the landlord can proceed with the eviction process.
- Lease violation: If a tenant violates the lease, landlords can issue a 30-day notice to comply. If the tenant does not comply, the landlord can move forward with the eviction. If the same violation occurs in a six-month period, the landlord can issue a 14-day notice to quit.
- Illegal activity: Mississippi law does not have specific statutes covering evictions for illegal acts, allowing landlords to set their own eviction notice policies.
- Safety violations/Material health: Landlords can evict tenants if they violate housing, safety, or health codes. Evictions for this reason do not require a notice period, and landlords may begin the eviction process immediately.
- No lease/end of lease: If tenants stay past the end of the tenancy, the landlord can serve a notice to quit. The notice period depends on the length of the lease. Week-to-week leases must provide a 7-day notice to quit and month-to-month leases must provide a 30-day notice to quit. Year-long leases require a 2-month notice to quit.
Mississippi renters can also terminate the lease agreement early for the following legal reasons:
- Active military duty
- Landlord harassment
- Early termination clause
- Domestic violence
- Uninhabitable unit
- Lease agreement violoation
Additional Mississippi landlord tenant laws
In addition to covering rental topics like repairs, evictions, and more, Mississippi law also addresses issues like landlord retaliation and housing discrimination. Learn about a few of these matters below.
Only federal laws protect Mississippi tenants from housing discrimination. Under the federal Fair Housing Act, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against potential renters based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.
If a landlord violates these laws, tenants can seek legal help and file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Like in other states, it’s illegal for Mississippi landlords to retaliate against their tenants for taking protected actions such as reporting the landlord to government authorities for health and safety violations. Raising rent and other bad-faith actions, like threatening evictions, are considered forms of retaliation.
The only disclosure Mississippi landlord-tenant law requires landlords to provide tenants before starting the lease period is a lead-based paint disclosure. This only applies to landlords with rental properties built before 1978.
Summing up: Understanding Mississippi rental laws
Mississippi landlord-tenant laws were created to outline both the rights and responsibilities of rental owners and tenants. While they ensure a fair rental process, they also help maintain a positive landlord-tenant relationship.
It’s crucial for landlords and tenants to understand and follow Mississippi’s laws as they apply to their roles. Landlords can learn to protect their real estate investments, and simultaneously, renters can discover how to assert their legal rights.
Beyond this guide, rental owners and tenants should do their due diligence in educating themselves on The Magnolia State’s laws as they stand now and evolve into the future.
Mississippi state laws FAQ
Is Mississippi a landlord-friendly state?
Mississippi is one of the most landlord-friendly states in the US—evident in its ranking as the 15th most landlord-friendly state. This is because it lacks rent control laws, allowing landlords to charge whatever they deem appropriate for their rental property. Additionally, the state gives landlords broad power in evictions and setting lease terms.
What is the limit a landlord or tenant can sue for in Mississippi Justice Court?
Mississippi Small Claims Court is called Justice Court. It handles disputes involving relatively small amounts of money in a simplified and quick manner. In Mississippi, the Justice Court will hear rental cases for up to only $3,500. The process normally takes one to two months.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.