Mississippi
Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. Maintain the unit, plumbing, heating and/or cooling system, in a good working condition (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make and pay for repairs for items under their responsibility. They must do so within 30 days after receiving a written request from tenants (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenant can’t withhold rent but are allowed to repair and deduct under specific conditions (read more).
  • Retaliation. It is illegal for a landlord to retaliate to the tenant by threatening eviction or decreasing services for exercising their legal rights (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in Mississippi does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are & aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs No
RV parks Not specifically addressed
Mobile home parks Not specifically addressed
Condos Not specifically addressed
Hotels/Motels No

Landlord Responsibilities

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Mississippi, as indicated below.

Note: some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability Issue Landlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair. Not addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks. Not addressed
Provide hot and cold running water. Not addressed
Provide working HVAC equipment. Yes
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting. Plumbing only
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Not addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet). Not addressed
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services). No
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe. Not addressed
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe. Not addressed
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean. Not addressed
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials. Not addressed
Provide working smoke detectors Not addressed
Provide a mailbox. Not addressed
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack. Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances. Not addressed
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Not addressed
Provide a working washer/dryer. Not addressed

Mississippi state law doesn’t lay out many requirements for landlords regarding habitability. However, landlords are required to comply with all housing codes, which are regulated by local governments.

Check with the municipality in which the rental property is located to determine what additional responsibilities, if any, landlords may have regarding habitability.

Making Repairs

For all residential properties, landlords are required to make and pay for any repairs to make the unit livable that are not caused by the tenant.

  • Sending notice – A tenant must send a written notice stating the specific defect that needs repair. Tenants should indicate the date, keep a copy, and make a note on the manner of delivery of the notice to the landlord. The landlord is given 30 days to make the repairs.
  • Landlord access – Tenants are not required to give the landlord access to make necessary repairs, unless it is specifically written into the lease.

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. Withhold rent – Mississippi landlord tenant law does not allow a tenant in Mississippi to withhold rent in response to habitability issues.
  2. Repair and deduct – tenants have the right to repair the issue themselves and deduct a reasonable amount for the repair from the following month’s rent.
  3. Lawsuit – tenants do have the right to file a suit against the landlord in justice court to make the repairs.

Landlord Retaliation

Retaliation against tenants for requesting repairs that affect habitability is illegal under Mississippi law. Retaliatory acts include:

  • recovering possession of the unit,
  • causing the tenant to leave the unit involuntarily,
  • demanding an increase in rent, or
  • decreasing services to the tenant.

Sources