Timeline. Evicting a tenant in Mississippi can take around two to eight weeks, depending on the reason for the eviction and which court the eviction is held in (read more).
Introduction: Mississippi landlords may bring an eviction case to the court if there are grounds for eviction, meaning that there is legal reason for the eviction. Below are the individual steps of the eviction process in Mississippi.
Step 1: Notice is Posted
Landlords in Mississippi can begin the eviction process for several reasons, including:
- Nonpayment of Rent – Once rent is past due, notice must be served giving the tenant the option to pay rent in order to avoid eviction.
- Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement – If a tenant violates a provision of a written lease/rental agreement, the landlord is required to give the tenant the opportunity to correct the issue before moving forward with the eviction process.
- No Lease / End of Lease Term (Tenant at Will) – If there is no lease or the term of the lease has ended, the landlord does not need any additional reason to end the tenancy as long as proper notice is given.
- Material Health / Safety Violation – If the tenant violates a health, building, safety, or housing code, landlords are not required to provide written notice prior to beginning the eviction process.
- Retaliatory Evictions. It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for complaining to the landlord or to the appropriate local or government agency regarding the property.
- Evicting a Squatter. If the individual occupying the property did not have the permission of the landlord when initially moving in, does not have a lease (or verbal agreement) and has no history of paying rent, then a landlord/tenant relationship may not be established. As a result, the normal eviction process may not be applicable (read more).
Each possible ground for eviction has its own rules for how the process starts.
Eviction Process for Nonpayment of Rent
A landlord is allowed to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent on time.
According to Mississippi law, rent is considered late the day after it’s due; grace periods, if any, are addressed in the lease or rental agreement.
Once rent is past due, the landlord must provide tenants with a 3-Day Notice to Pay if the landlord wants to file an eviction action with the court. This notice gives the tenant the option to pay the past due amount in full within three days in order to avoid eviction.
If the tenant does not pay the rent due by the end of the notice period and remains on the property, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement
A tenant can be evicted in Mississippi if they do not uphold their responsibilities under the terms of a written lease or rental agreement.
Mississippi landlords are required to allow tenants to correct a lease violation. A 30-Day Notice to Comply notice shall be delivered noting the tenant’s violations. If the tenant fixes or “cures” the violation but commits the same violation within a six-month timeframe, the landlord shall provide the tenant with a 14-Day Notice to Quit.
Typical lease violations under this category could include things like damaging the rental property, having too many people residing in the rental unit, and having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy.
Note that illegal activity may be included in this category; however, no notice is required if the activity affects others’ health or safety.
If the tenant fails to correct or “cure” the issue by the deadline or remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for No Lease / End of Lease
In the state of Mississippi, if tenants “holdover,” or stay in the rental unit after the rental term has expired, then the landlord may be required to give tenants notice before evicting them. This can include tenants without a written lease and week-to-week and month-to-month tenants.
Often this type of eviction applies to tenants who are at the end of their lease and the landlord doesn’t want to renew.
The amount of time required in the notice depends on the type of tenancy.
- Week-to-Week – If rent is paid on a week-to-week basis, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 7-Day Notice to Quit.
- Month-to-Month – If rent is paid on a month-to-month basis, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 30-Day Notice to Quit.
- Year-to-Year – If rent is paid on a year-to-year basis, a landlord must provide the tenant with a two month Notice to Quit.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Material Health / Safety Violation
A tenant can be evicted in Mississippi if they violate a health, building, safety, or housing code. In these instances, the landlord is not required to provide any written notice prior to beginning an eviction proceeding.
Examples of material health and safety violations could include letting trash pile up inside the rental unit, providing a harbor for rodents or bugs, or even things like damaging the electrical wiring in the rental unit.
The landlord may proceed directly to Step 2 below without providing prior written notice to the tenant.
Step 2: Complaint is Filed and Served
As the next step in the eviction process, Mississippi landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate county or justice court. Filing fees may vary in the state, for example, in the Hinds County Justice Court, this costs $75.
The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant by the sheriff or anyone over the age of 18 who isn’t part of the case, at least five days prior to the summons return date for county court cases, through one of the following methods:
- Giving a copy to the tenant in person.
- Leaving a copy with a family member over the age of 16 AND mailing a copy via first class mail.
- Publishing a copy in a local paper (only if all other methods fail). The publication shall be made once a week for three consecutive weeks. Or if there is no newspaper, the notice shall be posted at the courthouse door.
- Posting a copy in a conspicuous place on the rental property (nonpayment of rent evictions).
A summons and complaint may only be posted on the rental property if a copy cannot be given to the tenant in person.
The deadline to serve the summons for eviction cases heard in the Justice Courts isn’t specified in Mississippi statutes.
Five days. For evictions heard in the county court, the summons must be served at least five days prior to the return date.
Step 3: Court Hearing and Judgment
County court eviction cases will be heard 5-10 days after the date the summons was issued by the court. Mississippi state law doesn’t specify how quickly evictions heard in the Justice Courts must be held after the complaint is filed or the summons is issued.
If the tenant fails to appear for the hearing, the judicial officer may issue a default ruling in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant will need to move out.
For nonpayment of rent evictions, the court may grant a 10-day continuance, giving the tenant an extra 10 days to prepare for the hearing.
If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, either through a default judgment or at the eviction hearing, a writ of execution will be issued, and the eviction process will continue.
5-10 days after the summons was issued for cases heard in the county courts; state law doesn’t specify how quickly cases must be heard in Justice Courts.
Step 4: Writ of Execution Is Issued
The writ of execution is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit, and gives them the opportunity to remove their belongings before the sheriff, constable of the county or the marshal of the municipality returns to the property to forcibly remove the tenant and the tenant’s personal belongings.
If the court has ruled in the landlord’s favor, the landlord will ask the court to issue a writ of execution. For all evictions except those due to nonpayment of rent, this will be done five days after the ruling in favor of the landlord for both Justice Court and County Court.
For nonpayment of rent evictions, the writ will be issued immediately, unless a three day stay is granted for good cause.
A few hours to five days, depending on the reason for the eviction and whether a three day stay is granted for nonpayment of rent evictions.
Step 5: Possession of Property is Returned
Mississippi state law doesn’t specify whether tenants have additional time after the writ of execution is issued by the court to move out of the rental unit. Tenants should be prepared to move out immediately.
The judicial officer will announce in their ruling how much additional time (if any) the tenant has to move out of the rental unit before law enforcement officers return to forcibly remove the tenant from the rental unit.
The judge shall determine if the landlord is granted exclusive possession of the rental unit. If the judge grants the possession and the tenant does not remove their personal property from the premises before the date and time granted by the court, the landlord may dispose of the personal property without further notice or legal action.
A few hours to a few days, depending on whether the judicial officer allows tenants to have additional time to move out after the writ of execution is issued.
Mississippi Eviction Process Timeline
Below is a summary of the aspects outside of the landlord’s control that dictate the amount of time it takes to evict a tenant in Mississippi. Therefore, these estimates can vary greatly, and some time periods may not include weekends or legal holidays.
- Initial Notice Period – Between 3 and 30 days, depending on the notice type and reason for eviction.
- Issuance/Service of Summons and Complaint – Five days prior to the summons return date (county court cases only).
- Court Hearing and Ruling on the Eviction – 5-10 days after the date the summons was issued by the court (county court cases only).
- Issuance of Writ of Execution – A few hours to 5 days, depending on the reason for the eviction.
- Return of Possession – A few hours to a few days, depending on how quickly the judicial officer orders tenants to move out.
Derrick Beard Act. A cosigner of a lease of a residential property may terminate the lease upon the death of the tenant. The cosigner of the lease must provide notice to the landlord within 30 days of the death of the tenant. If the cosigner decides to terminate the lease, the landlord shall receive any unpaid rent and monies owed for any negligent or deliberate damage to the rental unit.
Tenant’s Eviction Defenses. In some cases, a tenant may be able to present a valid defense to the court to fight the eviction. Below are some examples of defenses:
- The landlord did not properly maintain the rental unit after notice was given from the tenant.
- The landlord forcefully evicted the tenant without following proper legal procedures.
- The eviction is based on the tenant’s religion, race, sex, national origin, creed, marital or family status, or disability.
- Retaliatory actions.
Flowchart of Mississippi Eviction Process
For additional questions about the eviction process in Mississippi, please refer to the official legislation, Mississippi Code §89-7-1 to 89-7-125, §89-8-1 to 89-8-29, §11-25-1 to 11-25-119, and the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4, for more information.
- 1 MS Code §89-7-27 (2019)
- 2 MS Code §89-8-13 (2019)
- 3 MS Code §89-8-19 (2019)
- 4 MS Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4 (2019)
- 5 MS Code §11-25-109 (2019)
- 6 MS Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4 (2019)
- 7 MS Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4 (2019)
- 8 MS Code §89-7-33 (2019)
- 9 MS Code §89-7-39 (2019)
- 10 MS Code §11-25-23 (2019)
- 11 MS Code §11-25-113 (2019)
- 12 MS Code §89-7-45 (2019)