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Mississippi Landlord Tenant Act




Sec. 89-8-1. Short title This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the"Residential Landlord and Tenant Act."

Sec. 89-8-3. Application

(1) This chapter shall apply to, regulate and determine rights, obligations and remedies under any rental agreement entered into after July 1, 1991, wherever made, for a dwelling unit located within this state. The rights, obligations and remedies of this chapter shall be in addition to all other rights, obligations and remedies provided by law and shall not alter or abridge the rights, obligations and remedies available to residential landlords and tenants pursuant to Sections 89-7-1 through 89-7-125.

(2) The following arrangements are not governed by this chapter:

(a) Residence at an institution, public or private, if incidental to detention or the provision of medical, geriatric, educational, counseling, religious or similar service;

(b) Occupancy under a contract of sale of a dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part, if the occupant is the purchaser or a person who succeeds to his interest;

(c) Occupancy by a member of a fraternal or social organization in the portion of a structure operated for the benefit of the organization;

(d) Transient occupancy in a hotel, motel or lodgings;

(e) Occupancy by an owner of a condominium unit or a holder of a proprietary lease in a cooperative; or

(f) Occupancy under a rental agreement covering premises used by the occupant primarily for agricultural purposes or when the occupant is performing agricultural labor for the owner and such premises are rented for less than fair rental value.

Sec. 89-8-5. Waiver in rental agreement

In any agreement, oral or written, for the rental of real property as a dwelling place, a landlord or tenant may not agree to waive or otherwise forego any of the rights, duties or remedies under this chapter, except as otherwise provided by this chapter

(a) Authorizes any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement; orv (b) Agrees to the exculpation or limitation of any liabilityof the landlord arising as a result of the landlord's willfulmisconduct or the costs connected therewith.

Sec. 89-8-7. Definitions; Notice to Landlord's Agent

(1) Subject to additional definitions contained in subsequentsections of this chapter which apply to specific sections or partsthereof, and unless the context otherwise requires, in thischapter:

(a) "Building and housing codes" includes any law, ordinance,or governmental regulation concerning fitness for habitation,construction, maintenance, operation, occupancy or use of anypremises or dwelling unit;

(b) "Dwelling unit" means a structure or the part of astructure that is used as a home, residence or sleeping place byone (1) person who maintains a household or by two (2) or morepersons who maintain a common household;

(c) "Good faith" means honesty in fact in the conduct of thetransaction concerned and observation of reasonable communitystandards of fair dealing;

(d) "Landlord" means the owner, lessor or sublessor of thedwelling unit or the building of which it is a part, or the agentrepresenting such owner, lessor or sublessor;

(e) "Organization" includes a corporation, government,governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust,partnership or association, two (2) or more persons having a jointor common interest, and any other legal or commercial entity;

(f) "Owner" means one or more persons, jointly or severally,in whom is vested (i) all or part of the legal title to property or(ii) all or part of the beneficial ownership and a right to presentuse and enjoyment of the premises, and the term includes amortgagee in possession;

(g) "Premises" means a dwelling unit and the structure ofwhich it is a part,facilities and appurtenances therein, andgrounds, areas and facilities held out for the use of tenantsgenerally or whose use is promised to the tenant;

(h) "Rent" means all payments to be made to the landlord underthe rental agreement;

(i) "Rental agreement" means all agreements, written or oral,and valid rules and regulations adopted under Section 89-8-11embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancyof a dwelling unit and premises;

(j) "Tenant" means a person entitled under a rental agreement to occupy a dwelling unit to the exclusion of others;

(k) "Qualified tenant management organizations" means any organization incorporated under the Mississippi NonprofitCorporation Act, a majority of the directors of which are tenantsof the housing project to be managed under a contract authorized bythis section and which is able to conform to standards set by theUnited States Department of Housing and Urban Development ascapable of satisfactorily performing the operational and management functions delegated to it by the contract.

(2) For purposes of giving any notice required under thischapter, notice given to the agent of the landlord is equivalent togiving notice to the landlord. The landlord may contract with anagent to assume all the rights and duties of the landlord underthis chapter; provided, however, that such a contract does notrelieve the landlord of ultimate liability in regard to such rights and duties.

Sec. 89-8-11. Use and occupancy rules

(1) A landlord may, from time to time, adopt rules orregulations, however described, concerning the tenant's use andoccupancy of the premises. They are enforceable against the tenantonly if:

(a) Their purpose is to promote the convenience, safety orwelfare of the tenants in the premises, preserve the landlord'sproperty from abuse, or make a fair distribution of services andfacilities provided for the tenants generally;v (b) They are reasonably related to the purpose for which theyare adopted;

(c) They apply to all tenants in the premises in a fairmanner;

(d) They are sufficiently explicit in their prohibition,direction or limitation of the tenant's conduct to fairly informhim of what he must or must not do to comply;

(e) They are not for the purpose of evading the obligations ofthe landlord.

(2) A rule or regulation adopted or amended after the tenantenters into the rental agreement is enforceable against the tenantif reasonable notice of its adoption or amendment is given to thetenant and it does not work a substantial modification of therental agreement.

(3) If the dwelling unit is an apartment in a horizontalproperty regime, the tenant shall comply with the bylaws of theassociation of the apartment owners; and if the dwelling unit is anapartment in a cooperative housing corporation, the tenant shallcomply with the bylaws of the corporation.

(4) Unless otherwise agreed, the tenant shall occupy hisdwelling unit only as a dwelling unit.

Sec. 89-8-9. Good faith

Every duty under this chapter and every act which must beperformed as a condition precedent to the exercise of a right orremedy under this chapter, including the landlord's termination ofa tenancy or nonrenewal of a lease, imposes an obligation of goodfaith in its performance or enforcement.

Sec. 89-8-13. Right to terminate tenancy; notice

(1) If there is a material noncompliance by the tenant withthe rental agreement or the obligations imposed by Section 89-8-25,the landlord may terminate the tenancy as set out in subsection (3)of this section or resort to any other remedy at law or in equityexcept as prohibited by this chapter.

(2) If there is a material noncompliance by the landlord withthe rental agreement or the obligations imposed by Section 89-8-23,the tenant may terminate the tenancy as set out in subsection (3)of this section or resort to any other remedy at law or in equityexcept as prohibited by this chapter.

(3) The nonbreaching party may deliver a written notice to theparty in breach specifying the acts and omissions constituting thebreach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date notless than thirty (30) days after receipt of the notice if thebreach is not remedied within a reasonable time not in excess ofthirty (30) days; and the rental agreement shall terminate and thetenant shall surrender possession as provided in the notice subject to the following:

(a) If the breach is remediable by repairs, the payment ofdamages, or otherwise, and the breaching party adequately remediesthe breach prior to the date specified in the notice, the rentalagreement shall not terminate;

(b) In the absence of a showing of due care by the breachingparty, if substantially the same act or omission which constituteda prior noncompliance of which notice was given recurs within six(6) months, the nonbreaching party may terminate the rentalagreement upon at least fourteen (14) days' written noticespecifying the breach and the date of termination of therental agreement;

(c) Neither party may terminate for a condition caused by hisown deliberate or negligent act or omission or that of a member ofhis family or other person on the premises with his consent.

(4) If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shallreturn all prepaid and unearned rent and security recoverable bythe tenant under Section 89-8-21.

(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or anyother provisions of this chapter to the contrary, if the materialnoncompliance by the tenant is the nonpayment of rent pursuant tothe rental agreement, the landlord shall not be required to deliverthirty (30) days' written notice as provided by subsection (3) ofthis section. In such event, the landlord may seek removal of the tenant from the premises in the manner and with the noticeprescribed by Chapter 7, Title 89, Mississippi Code of 1972.

Sec. 89-8-15. Repair of defects

(1) If, within thirty (30) days after written notice to thelandlord of a specific and material defect which constitutes abreach of the terms of the rental agreement or of the obligation ofthe landlord under Section 89-8-23, the landlord fails to repairsuch defect, the tenant:

(a) May repair such defect himself; and

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) of thissection, shall be entitled to reimbursement of the expenses of suchrepairs within forty-five (45) days after submission to thelandlord of receipted bills for such work, provided that:

(i) The tenant has fulfilled his affirmative obligations underSection 89-8-25;

(ii) The expenses incurred in making such repairs do not exceedan amount equal to one (1) month's rent;

(iii) The tenant has not exercised the remedy provided by thissection in the six (6) months immediately preceding; and

(iv) The tenant is current in his rental payment.

(2) A tenant shall not be entitled to be reimbursed forrepairs made pursuant to this section in an amount greater than theusual and customary charge for such repairs.

(3) Before correcting a condition affecting facilities sharedby more than one (1) dwelling unit, the tenant shall notify allother tenants sharing such facilities of his plans and shall soarrange the work as to create the least practicable inconvenienceto the other tenants.

(4) The cost of repairs made by a tenant pursuant to thissection may be offset against future rent.

(5) No provision of this section shall be construed to granta lien against the real property.

Sec. 89-8-19. Length of tenancy

(1) Unless the rental agreement fixes a definite term atenancy shall be week to week in case of a tenant who pays weeklyrent, and in all other cases month to month.

(2) The landlord or the tenant may terminate a week-to-weektenancy by written notice given to the other at least seven (7)days prior to the termination date.

(3) The landlord or the tenant may terminate a month-to-monthtenancy by a written notice given to the other at least thirty (30)days prior to the termination date.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or anyother provision of this chapter to the contrary, notice toterminate a tenancy shall not be required to be given when thelandlord or tenant has committed a substantial violation of therental agreement or this chapter that materially affects health and safety.

Sec. 89-8-21. Security deposit

(1) Any payment or deposit of money, the primary function ofwhich is to secure the performance of a rental agreement or anypart of such an agreement, other than a payment or deposit,including an advance payment of rent, made to secure the executionof a rental agreement shall be governed by the provisions of thissection.

(2) Any such payment or deposit of money shall be held by thelandlord for the tenant who is a party to such agreement. Theclaim of a tenant to such payment or deposit shall be governed bythe provisions of this section. The claim of a tenant to suchpayment or deposit shall be prior to the claim of any creditor of the landlord.

(3) The landlord, by written notice delivered to the tenant,may claim of such payment or deposit only such amounts as arereasonably necessary to remedy the tenant's defaults in the paymentof rent, to repair damages to the premises caused by the tenant,exclusive of ordinary wear and tear, to clean such premises upontermination of the tenancy, or for other reasonable and necessary expenses incurred as the result of the tenant's default, if thepayment or deposit is made for any or all of those specificpurposes. The written notice by which the landlord claims all orany portion of such payment or deposit shall itemize the amountsclaimed by such landlord. Any remaining portion of such payment ordeposit shall be returned to the tenant no later than forty-five(45) days after the termination of his tenancy, the delivery of possession and demand by the tenant.

(4) The retention by a landlord or transferee of a payment ordeposit or any portion thereof, in violation of this section andwith absence of good faith, may subject the landlord or histransferee to damages not to exceed Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00)in addition to any actual damages.

Sec. 89-8-23. Obligations of landlord

(1) A landlord shall at all times during the tenancy:

(a) Comply with the requirements of applicable building andhousing codes materially affecting health and safety;

(b) Maintain the dwelling unit, its plumbing, heating and/orcooling system, in substantially the same condition as at theinception of the lease, reasonable wear and tear excluded, unlessthe dwelling unit, its plumbing, heating and/or cooling system isdamaged or impaired as a result of the deliberate or negligentactions of the tenant.

(2) No duty on the part of the landlord shall arise under thissection in connection with a defect which is caused by thedeliberate or negligent act of the tenant or persons on thepremises with the tenant's permission.

(3) Subject to the provisions of Section 89-8-5, the landlordand tenant may agree in writing that the tenant perform some or allof the landlord's duties under this section, but only if thetransaction is entered into in good faith.

(4) No duty on the part of the landlord shall arise under thissection in connection with a defect which is caused by the tenant'saffirmative act or failure to comply with his obligations underSection 89-8-25.

Sec. 89-8-25. Obligations of tenant

A tenant shall:

(a) Keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses asclean and as safe as the condition of the premises permits;

(b) Dispose from his dwelling unit all ashes, rubbish, garbageand other waste in a clean and safe manner in compliance withcommunity standards;

(c) Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit used by thetenant as clean as their condition permits;

(d) Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing,sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning and otherfacilities and appliances, including elevators, in the premises;

(e) Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage,impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit anyother person to do so;

(f) Conduct himself and require other persons on the premises withhis consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb hisneighbors' peaceful enjoyment of their premises;

(g) Inform the landlord of any condition of which he has actualknowledge which may cause damage to the premises;

(h) To the extent of his legal obligation, maintain the dwellingunit in substantially the same condition, reasonable wear and tearexcepted, and comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codesmaterially affecting health and safety;

(i) Not engage in any illegal activity upon the leased premises asdocumented by a law enforcement agency.

Sec. 89-8-27. Housing authorities; tenant management organization

Any county, municipality, regional housing authority or localhousing authority in the state may make application to and contract withqualified tenant management organizations for the operation and management ofhousing projects of the authority as a means of reducing vacancies,reducing administrative costs and creating jobs from the establishment ofmaintenance teams. Such counties, municipalities, regional housing authoritiesor local housing authorities shall have the authority to sell public housingunits to such tenant management organizations, provided that such sale is incompliance with any applicable federal laws and regulations and any applicablestate laws and regulations.

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