2018 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division A
By: Senator(s) Hill
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 89-8-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO EXPAND THE DEFINITION OF "RENT" TO INCLUDE ANY LATE FEES THAT A DEFAULTING TENANT IS REQUIRED TO PAY UNDER THE RENTAL AGREEMENT; TO AMEND SECTION 89-8-13, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE NOTICE REQUIRED TO BE GIVEN WHEN A RENTAL AGREEMENT IS BREACHED FROM THIRTY DAYS TO FOURTEEN DAYS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 89-8-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
89-8-7. (1) Subject to additional definitions contained in subsequent sections of this chapter which apply to specific sections or parts thereof, and unless the context otherwise requires, in this chapter:
(a) "Building and housing codes" includes any law, ordinance, or governmental regulation concerning fitness for habitation, construction, maintenance, operation, occupancy or use of any premises or dwelling unit;
(b) "Dwelling unit" means a structure or the part of a structure that is used as a home, residence or sleeping place by one (1) person who maintains a household or by two (2) or more persons who maintain a common household;
(c) "Good faith" means honesty in fact in the conduct of the transaction concerned and observation of reasonable community standards of fair dealing;
(d) "Landlord" means the owner, lessor or sublessor of the dwelling unit or the building of which it is a part, or the agent representing 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 joint or 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 present use and enjoyment of the premises, and the term includes a mortgagee in possession;
(g) "Premises" means a dwelling unit and the structure of which it is a part, facilities and appurtenances therein, and grounds, areas and facilities held out for the use of tenants generally or whose use is promised to the tenant;
(h) "Rent" means all payments to be made to the landlord under the rental agreement including any late fees that are required to be paid under the rental agreement by a defaulting tenant;
(i) "Rental agreement" means all agreements, written or oral, and valid rules and regulations adopted under Section 89-8-11 embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of 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 Nonprofit Corporation Act, a majority of the directors of which are tenants of the housing project to be managed under a contract authorized by this section and which is able to conform to standards set by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development as capable of satisfactorily performing the operational and management functions delegated to it by the contract.
(2) For purposes of giving any notice required under this chapter, notice given to the agent of the landlord is equivalent to giving notice to the landlord. The landlord may contract with an agent to assume all the rights and duties of the landlord under this chapter; provided, however, that such a contract does not relieve the landlord of ultimate liability in regard to such rights and duties.
SECTION 2. Section 89-8-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
89-8-13. (1) If there is a material noncompliance by the tenant with the 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 equity except as prohibited by this chapter.
(2) If there is a material noncompliance by the landlord with the 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 equity except as prohibited by this chapter.
(3) The nonbreaching party
may deliver a written notice delivered to the * * *
premises specifying the
acts and omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will
terminate upon a date not less than * * * fourteen (14) days after
receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied within a reasonable time
not in excess of * * * fourteen (14) days; * * * additional notice may be given by email
or text message if the person who owes the rent has provided an email address
or number to a cellular phone that is capable of receiving text messages.
The rental agreement shall terminate and the tenant shall surrender possession
as provided in the notice subject to the following:
(a) If the breach is
remediable by repairs, the payment of damages, or otherwise, and the breaching
party adequately remedies the breach * * *
before the date specified in
the notice, the rental agreement shall not terminate;
(b) In the absence of a showing of due care by the breaching party, if substantially the same act or omission which constituted a prior noncompliance of which notice was given recurs within six (6) months, the nonbreaching party may terminate the rental agreement upon at least fourteen (14) days' written notice; additional notice may be given by email or text message if the person who owes the rent has provided an email address or number to a cellular phone that is capable of receiving text messages, specifying the breach and the date of termination of the rental agreement;
(c) Neither party may terminate for a condition caused by his own deliberate or negligent act or omission or that of a member of his family or other person on the premises with his consent.
(4) If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all prepaid and unearned rent and security recoverable by the tenant under Section 89-8-21.
(5) (a) * * *
If the material
noncompliance by the tenant is the nonpayment of rent pursuant to the rental
agreement, the landlord shall not be required to deliver * * * fourteen (14) days' * * * notice as provided by subsection (3) of
this section. In such event, the landlord may seek removal of the tenant from
the premises in the manner and with the notice prescribed by Chapter 7, Title
89, Mississippi Code of 1972, and may file for eviction on the first day the
nonpayment of rent occurs as provided in the rental agreement.
(b) Any justice court judge or other judge presiding over a hearing in which a landlord seeks to remove a tenant for the nonpayment of rent shall abide by the provisions of the rental agreement that was signed by the landlord and the defaulting tenant. If the defaulting tenant fails to remedy the nonpayment of rent, the justice court judge or other judge presiding over the hearing shall have the tenant removed from the premises within thirty (30) days of the date rent and any late fees due were not timely paid.
(c) The landlord shall not be held liable for any water bill, electricity bill, or other similar bill that was left unpaid by the defaulting tenant.
(6) Disposition of personal property, including any manufactured home, of a tenant remaining on the landlord's premises after the tenant has been removed from the premises shall be governed by Section 89-7-35(2) or Section 89-7-41(2).
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2018.