The Mississippi eviction process provides that a written notice be served on any tenant that the landlord wishes to evict for a valid reason.
Valid reasons for eviction in Mississippi can include the following:
- Nonpayment of rent
- Breach of a lease provision
- Holdover after expiration of the rental agreement
- Substantial damage to the rental property
- End of month-to-month tenancy
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Mississippi Self-Eviction Law
Generally, a landlord cannot evict a tenant without a court order such as by locking out the tenant, removing his or her personal belongings, turning off the utilities or otherwise denying the tenant any access to the property.
The Mississippi eviction process, however, does allow self-eviction under limited circumstances.
- The written lease agreement must specifically provide that the landlord may lockout the tenant for a lease violation or nonpayment of rent without a court order.
- The landlord must serve a Mississippi eviction notice advising the tenant that he or she will evict the tenant under the terms of the lease without a court order if compliance is not forthcoming within 3-days for nonpayment of rent or 30-days for any other lease violation.
- The landlord’s actions must not be in breach of the peace, which is subject to interpretation, but which includes not threatening the tenant or committing a criminal act in attempting to expel the tenant.
If the landlord fails to abide by the self-eviction law, he or she may be liable for damages to the tenant.
Also, the landlord in this case may not lockout the tenant while leaving his or her personal belongings in the unit. Any self-eviction is not recommended.
The Mississippi eviction notice is a 3-Day Notice for nonpayment of rent cases. The notice must advise the tenant that he or she has 3-days to pay the entire rent owed or vacate. It must also state the amount owed and that legal action to evict the tenant will begin if there is noncompliance. The tenant is not legally obligated to leave the premises within the 3-day period unless there is a court order.
A tenant can have the eviction lawsuit dismissed at any time if the entire rent due is paid before the court enters a judgment in favor of the landlord. The landlord cannot refuse to accept full tender of the rent before an eviction order is issued.
Any other violation of the lease requires a 30-day Mississippi eviction notice, which also must advise the tenant that he or she may remain on the premises if the breach is cured within the 30-day period or an eviction suit will be sought. The notice must also reference the lease provision that has been violated and how the tenant violated it.To end a month-to-month tenancy, a 30-day notice is also required though no reason need be specified.
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Service of Notice
Any Mississippi eviction notice can be served in any of three ways:
- Personal service.
- Personal service on a person at least 13-years of age who also resides on the property.
- Service by registered or certified mail with return receipt.
Any of these service methods may be done by the landlord or his or her representative.
Summons and Complaint
If the tenant refuses to pay the rent within the 3-day period or does not cure the lease violation within the 30-day notice period, the Mississippi eviction process requires the landlord to seek a court order. To do so, he or she must first file and serve a Summons and Complaint for Eviction in the court where the property is located.
Once issued, the Summons and Complaint is served on the tenant by the sheriff’s office. It contains the date, time and location of the court hearing as well as the reason for the eviction.
Mississippi Eviction Hearing
An eviction hearing is the same as a trial. The landlord must prove that the tenant has not paid the rent or violated some provision of the lease that warrants eviction. The landlord should provide a copy of the lease, the notice served and proof of service, rent receipts and records, documentary evidence of any lease violation, photographs and witness testimony, if applicable, in support of the allegations.
The tenant will have an opportunity to counter any of these allegations. If the tenant has a counterclaim, he or she should provide these in writing in an Answer to the Summons and Complaint before the hearing and be prepared to prove them.
Tenant Defenses to Eviction
A tenant in the Mississippi eviction process may assert any of the following defenses:
- The breach of a lease provision is not substantial enough to warrant an eviction.
- The allegations are false.
- There was improper service.
- The notice does not specify a reason for eviction.
- The landlord waived eviction by accepting the full rent.
- Rent was withheld because of the landlord’s breach of the lease (constructive eviction).
- The eviction is in retaliation for the tenant having filed a complaint regarding the condition of the property.
- The eviction is based on the tenant’s religion, race, sex, national origin, creed, marital or family status, or disability.
Writ of Execution
If the tenant fails to appear or the court issues a judgment in favor of the landlord, the court will also issue a Writ of Execution. This document specifies a time for the tenant to vacate the premises or his or her property will be removed and the tenant denied access to the property. Only the sheriff can supervise the removal and lockout of the tenant.
The Writ is served by the sheriff personally on the tenant or by posting it on the property.
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