In Mississippi, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by Mississippi Code §89-8-23. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.
Applicable Dwelling Types in Mississippi
The implied warranty of habitability in Mississippi does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.
|Dwelling Type||Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?|
|RV parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Mobile home parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Condos||Not specifically addressed|
Landlord Responsibilities in Mississippi
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 set out many requirements for landlords regarding habitability; however, landlords are required to comply with all housing codes, which are regulated by local governments. Landlords must make repairs if they are stated in the rental agreement and all common areas should be kept in good condition. In some instances, a landlord and tenant may agree in writing that the tenant may perform certain routine maintenance tasks or repairs.
Check with the municipality in which the rental property is located to determine what additional responsibilities, if any, landlords may have regarding habitability.
Tenant’s Right to Repairs in Mississippi
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 in Mississippi
If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.
- Withhold Rent – Mississippi landlord tenant law does not allow a tenant in Mississippi to withhold rent in response to habitability issues.
- 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.
- Lawsuit – Tenants do have the right to file a suit against the landlord in justice court to make the repairs. Tenant’s must be current on their rent and the repair and deduct remedy may only be used every six months.
Landlord Retaliation in Mississippi
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.
- Decreasing services to the tenant.