In Mississippi, if rent is paid in a timely manner in exchange for inhabiting premises, a landlord-tenant relationship is established, even without a written lease, according to Mississippi law (Mississippi Code Title 89). Mississippi landlords have rights, which include the right to collect rent and the right to reimbursement for damages to property that exceed normal wear and tear.
Tenants also have rights which include pursuing housing without discrimination and the right to habitable premises.
Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.
Landlord Responsibilities in Mississippi
Mississippi landlords are required to provide habitable housing and must make repairs in a timely manner (30 days) when required. If they do not, then Mississippi tenants may engage in alternate action against the landlord by repairing and deducting the cost from rent.
Below is a list of common items that Mississippi landlords are or aren’t responsible for providing and maintaining, excluding any local housing or building codes.
Landlords are not permitted to evict tenants in retaliation for reporting violations of landlord responsibilities.
Tenant Responsibilities in Mississippi
Tenants also have various responsibilities under Mississippi law. In Mississippi, tenants have a responsibility to:
- Keep the house, structural components, and fixtures free from damage.
- Maintain cleanliness standards set by the landlord (including garbage).
- Not unreasonably disturb neighbors and other tenants.
Evictions in Mississippi
Mississippi gives landlords broad authority to evict tenants. The most common reasons for eviction in Mississippi are:
- Nonpayment of rent – If rent is late, landlords can give a 3-day Notice to Pay or Quit. If the tenant does not pay within 3 days, the landlord can engage in eviction proceedings. Landlords are free to give tenants a grace period for late rent, either in a lease agreement or at their discretion.
- Violation of lease term – If a tenant violates the terms of their lease or does not abide by their responsibilities as a tenant, landlords can issue a 30-day Notice to Remedy. If the terms are not met or the problem is not remediable, then landlords can proceed with eviction.
- Illegal acts – Mississippi law does not specify guidelines for eviction due to illegal acts. Thus, Mississippi landlords can establish their own eviction notice policies for documented illegal acts.
Mississippi landlords can evict “at-will” tenants at their own discretion. They must still give a 30-day notice to quit to non-leased tenants.
Mississippi landlords are also prohibited from evicting tenants for discriminatory reasons against protected classes, and cannot evict tenants in retaliation.
Security Deposits in Mississippi
- Standard limit/maximum amount – None.
- Time limit – 45 days.
- Penalty if not returned on time – Failure to return a security deposit in the 45-day time frame may result in landlords having to pay up to $200 for damages.
- Allowable deductions – Unpaid rent, damages to property beyond normal wear and tear, and cleaning fees.
Lease Termination in Mississippi
Notice Requirements. Tenants living under a fixed end date lease do not have to provide any notice at the end of the lease. Tenants who rent on a periodic basis must give the following notice.
|Rent Payment Frequency||Notice Needed|
Early Termination. A lease can be broken legally in Mississippi for the following reasons:
- Early termination clause
- Active military duty
- Uninhabitable unit
- Landlord harassment
- Lease agreement violation
Rent Increases & Related Fees in Mississippi
- Rent control. Mississippi law currently prohibits and type of rent control, on both a state and local level. Thus, landlords have full discretion to charge as much as they want for rent.
- Raising rent. Mississippi landlords can raise rental prices whenever they want, without notice, for whatever reason they want.
- Additional fees. Legal fees must be included in the terms of a lease agreement. There are no statutory limits on late fee charges. There is a $30 returned check fee limit, though.
Housing Discrimination in Mississippi
Protected groups. Mississippi landlords are prohibited from discriminating in housing against members of groups outlined in the Fair Housing Act. This includes race, color, nationality, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. Mississippi does not offer any extra protections for classes not outlined in the Fair Housing Act.
Discriminatory Acts & Penalty. The following actions may be deemed discriminatory:
- Refusal to rent or sell property on a bona fide offer
- Lying about unit availability
- Giving different terms, conditions, or privileges when renting or selling
- Refusing to accept reasonable accommodations
Mississippi does not have a standardized policy for documenting discrimination in housing. Mississippi tenants who feel they have been discriminated against can contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in Mississippi
Landlord Right to Entry in Mississippi
Mississippi law does not have any provisions governing landlord right to entry. Thus, landlords are technically allowed to enter inhabited properties without giving notice, unless it is explicitly addressed in the lease agreement. Most landlords and tenants agree on a suitable entry policy for non-emergencies.
Mississippi landlords, as is the case in many other states, do not necessarily need to ask for permission to enter in emergencies.
Small Claims Court in Mississippi
Mississippi small claims court can adjudicate disputes between landlords and tenants for amounts less than $3,500. There is a 4-year statute of limitations on rent-related cases.
Mandatory Disclosures in Mississippi
Mississippi landlords are only required to make one disclosure to tenants:
- Lead-based paint. Houses built before 1978 must disclose concentrations of lead used in paints.
Changing Locks in Mississippi
Unlike most states, Mississippi landlords can unilaterally change locks for whatever reason. This means that landlords can lock tenants out by changing locks without permission or notice. Tenants may be legally allowed to change locks without permission, but this is discouraged.
Additional Resources for Mississippi Renters
Please check your local county and municipality laws for additional rules and protections for both landlords and tenants. To learn more, please refer to the below digital resources.
Mississippi Small Claims Court Primer – This brief informational guide can take landlords and tenants alike through the process of filing a small claims court case in Mississippi.
HUD Fair Housing in Mississippi– Because Mississippi does not maintain its own system for reporting fair housing discrimination, this page from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development can act as a jumping off point for tenants with questions about how to move forward with their complaint.
Attorney General of Mississippi – Mississippi’s Attorney General generally provides the public with information about laws and their execution in the state. Landlords or tenants with questions about their obligations under state law should contact this office for more information.