2020 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Cockerham
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 85-7-121, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ADD THE DEFINITIONS FOR "ELECTRONIC MAIL," "LATE FEE" AND "SALE" FOR THE PROVISIONS OF LAW REGULATING AN OWNER'S LIEN FOR SELF-STORAGE RENTALS; TO AMEND SECTION 85-7-123, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY THE REGULATION FOR RENTAL AGREEMENTS FOR SELF-STORAGE FACILITIES; TO AMEND SECTION 85-7-125, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY THE ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURE FOR AN OWNER'S LIEN; TO AMEND SECTION 85-7-127, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE A PROCEDURE FOR DISPOSITION OF VEHICLES AND WATERCRAFT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 85-7-121, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
85-7-121. As used in Sections 85-7-121 through 85-7-129, the following terms shall have the meaning ascribed to them herein, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
"Default" means the failure timely to perform any obligation or duty
set forth in Sections 85-7-121 through 85-7-129 * * *
or the rental agreement;
(b) "Electronic mail" means an electronic message or an executable program or computer file that contains an image of a message that is transmitted between two (2) or more computers or electronic terminals and includes electronic messages that are transmitted within or between computer networks;
( * * *
c) "Last known address"
means * * * the
postal address or electronic mail provided by the occupant in the
latest rental agreement or the postal address or electronic mail
provided by the occupant in a subsequent written notice of a change of address;
(d) "Late fee" means any fee or charge assessed for an occupant's failure to pay rent when due. Late fee does not include interest on a debt; expenses incurred in the collection of unpaid rent; expenses necessary for preservation of personal property or expenses reasonably incurred in its sale or other disposition pursuant to Sections 85-7-121 through 85-7-129; or costs associated with the enforcement of any other remedy provided by law or contract;
( * * *
e) "Leased space" means the
individual storage space at the self-storage facility which is leased or rented
to an occupant pursuant to a rental agreement * * * ;
( * * *
f) "Occupant" means a person,
his sublessee, successor or assign entitled to the use of a leased space at a
self-storage facility under a rental agreement to the exclusion of others;
( * * *
g) "Owner" means the owner,
operator, lessor or sublessor of a self-storage facility, an agent or any
person authorized to manage the facility or to receive rent from an occupant
under a rental agreement. The term "owner" shall not be construed to
mean a warehouseman unless the owner issues a warehouse receipt, bill of lading
or other document of title for the personal property stored;
( * * *
h) "Personal property" means
movable property not affixed to land and includes, but is not limited to,
goods, wares, merchandise, watercraft, motor vehicles and household items;
( * * *
i) "Rental agreement" means
any written agreement or lease that establishes or modifies the terms,
conditions, rules or any other provisions concerning the use and occupancy of leased
space at a self-storage facility;
(j) "Sale" means a public or private sale that is conducted at the self-storage facility, another suitable location selected by the owner, or on a publicly accessible website that conducts lien sales or personal property sales. The personal property at a sale may be offered as a unit or in parcels.
( * * *
k) "Self-storage facility"
means any real property used for the purpose of renting or leasing individual
storage space to occupants who are to have access to such space for the purpose
of occupants themselves storing and removing personal property on "self-service
basis"; provided, however, that an occupant may not use a leased space for
residential purposes * * * ;
(l) "Verified mail" means any method of mailing offered by the United States Postal Service or private delivery service that provides evidence of the mailing.
SECTION 2. Section 85-7-123, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
85-7-123. (1) The owner has a lien upon all personal property located at a self-storage facility for rent, late fees, labor or other charges, present or future, in relation to the personal property and for expenses necessary for its preservation or expenses reasonably incurred in its sale or other disposition pursuant to Sections 85-7-121 through 85-7-129. The lien provided for in this section is superior to any other lien or security interest except those which are perfected and recorded in Mississippi prior to the date of default under the rental agreement and except any tax lien as otherwise provided by law. The lien attaches as of the date the personal property is placed in the leased space and the rental agreement shall contain a statement in bold type notifying the occupant of the existence of the lien and that the property stored in the leased space may be sold to satisfy the lien if the occupant is in default. If the rental agreement specifies a limit on the value of personal property that the occupant may store in the leased space, the limit shall be deemed to be the maximum value of the personal property in the leased space of the occupant.
(2) If the occupant is in default, the owner may deny the occupant access to the leased space at the self-storage facility.
(3) The rental agreement may provide for a reasonable late fee for failure of the occupant to timely make payments for the leased space when due. A monthly late fee of no more than Twenty Dollars ($20.00) or twenty percent (20%) of the monthly rental amount, whichever is greater, shall be considered reasonable and is not a penalty.
(4) If the owner offers notice by electronic mail, the occupant may elect to receive notice by electronic mail only by indicating the election in the rental agreement.
SECTION 3. Section 85-7-125, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
85-7-125. The enforcement of the owner's lien against an occupant who is in default shall be in accordance with the following:
(a) No enforcement action shall be taken by the owner, other than denial of access, as provided for in the rental agreement until the occupant has been in default continuously for a period of fourteen (14) days.
(b) During the default
period the occupant shall be notified in writing. The notice shall be
delivered in person or sent by * * *
electronic mail * * * to the last known address of the
occupant. Notices shall be deemed delivered when deposited in the United
States mail * * * , with a private delivery service with postage paid
or when an electronic message is sent to the last known address provided by the
occupant. If the owner receives an automated message that the electronic mail
cannot be delivered, the owner shall deliver the notice in person or send the
notice by verified mail. The notice shall include an itemized statement of
the owner's claim showing the sum due at the time of the notice, the date when
the sum became due and any other sums that shall accrue. The notice shall also
include a demand for payment of the sum due within a specified time not less
than fourteen (14) days after the date of the notice, a statement that the
contents of the occupant's lease space are subject to the owner's lien, the
name, street address and telephone number of the owner, or his designated
agent, whom the occupant may contact to respond to the notice, a conspicuous
statement that unless the claim is paid within the time stated, the personal
property will be advertised for public or private sale or will be otherwise
disposed of at a specified time and place.
(c) After the
expiration of the time given in the owner's notice, the owner shall publish * * *
advertisement of the sale
to the highest bidder in * * * a newspaper of general circulation where the self‑storage facility
is located. any commercially reasonable manner. The manner of
advertisement is deemed commercially reasonable if it is likely to attract at
least three (3) independent bidders to attend or view the sale in person or
online at the time and place advertised. The notice shall include the
address of the self-storage facility where the personal property is located,
and the name of the occupant, and the time, place and manner of the sale.
(d) A sale to the
highest bidder shall take place not sooner than fifteen (15) days after the
publication. * * *
(e) If no one
purchases the property at the sale and if the owner has complied with the
foregoing procedures, the owner may otherwise dispose of the property. * * *
SECTION 4. Section 85-7-127, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
85-7-127. (1) Before any
sale or other disposition of personal property pursuant to Sections 85-7-121
through 85-7-129, the occupant may pay the amount necessary to satisfy the
owner's lien and the reasonable expenses incurred under Sections 85-7-121
through 85-7-129, and thereby redeem the personal property. Upon the payment
and satisfaction of the amount necessary to satisfy the lien and the
reasonable expenses incurred under Sections 85-7-121 through 85-7-129, the
owner shall return the personal property and thereafter the owner shall have no
liability to any person with respect to such personal property. Unless the
rental agreement specifically provides otherwise and until a * * *
sale under Sections 85-7-121 through 85-7-129,
the exclusive care, custody and control of all personal property stored in the
leased * * *
space remains vested in the occupant.
(2) The owner may buy at any sale of personal property to enforce the owner's lien.
(3) A purchaser in good faith of the personal property sold to satisfy the owner's lien takes the property free of any rights of persons against whom the lien was valid, despite noncompliance by the owner with the requirements of this section.
(4) In the event of a sale
under Sections 85-7-121 through 85-7-129, the owner may satisfy his lien from
the proceeds of the sale but shall hold the balance, if any, for delivery on
demand to the occupant. In no event shall the owner's liability exceed the
proceeds of the sale. If the occupant does not claim the balance of the
proceeds within one (1) year of the date of the sale, such balance shall be
deemed to be abandoned and the owner shall pay such balance to the Treasurer of
the State of Mississippi, * * *
who shall deposit such funds into the General Fund in
accordance with the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.
(5) (a) If the personal property subject to the owner's lien is a vehicle, watercraft, or trailer and rent or other charges remain unpaid for sixty (60) days, the owner may have the vehicle, watercraft, or trailer towed from the self-storage facility. This removal shall not release the owner's lien. The owner shall not be liable for any damages to the vehicle, watercraft, or trailer once the tower takes possession of the property.
(b) Not less than ten days before having personal property towed pursuant to this section, an owner shall notify the occupant by regular mail or electronic mail at the occupant's last known address and shall include the name, address, and telephone number of the tower and the owner or his designated agent.
(6) Nothing in this article shall be construed as in any manner impairing or affecting the right of parties to create additional rights, duties, and obligations in and by virtue of a rental agreement. In addition to the rights and remedies set forth in this article, the owner has the same rights of and remedies available to a creditor or landlord.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2020.