Mississippi landlords are likely to be pleased with Senate Bill 2473, which was adopted in the 2018 Legislative Session and became effective July 1, 2018. The new law makes landlord-friendly changes to the Residential Landlord Tenant Act (Section 89-8-1 et seq. of the Mississippi Code) and to the statutes addressing eviction of tenants in Sections 89-7-1 et seq. The most significant change, both to the eviction process and way that landlords draft their leases, provides that notice of default may be sent by email or text if the parties have agreed in writing to these methods of notice. Also, the notice required to be given when a rental agreement is breached has been decreased from 30 days to 14 days.
Other changes to the eviction statutes include protecting the landlord’s rights to collect late fees in addition to overdue rent by expanding the definition of “rent” to include any late fees that a defaulting tenant is required to pay under the rental agreement. Also, the law permits the landlord to evict for any event for which the lease provides eviction as a remedy, rather than only for holding over or failure to pay rent.
Provisions in the new law sought to speed up the eviction process and remove discretion from the judge. Under the revised statute, hearings for eviction due to the nonpayment of rent are not be continued beyond 45 days from the date of filing. Section 89-7-49 has been amended to remove the discretion of the judge to put the landlord in possession of the premises when a tenant fails to pay rent. The legislation requires that any judge “presiding over a hearing in which a landlord seeks to remove a tenant for nonpayment of rent shall abide by the provisions of the rental agreement that was signed by the landlord and the defaulting tenant.”
RANDALL | SEGREST