Summary of Mississippi's Foreclosure Laws

Learn the key features of Mississippi's foreclosure laws.

If you fall far enough behind on your mortgage payments and you live in Mississippi, you could lose your home to a foreclosure. But you might not even be aware that your house is up for auction at a foreclosure sale because state law doesn’t require the bank to send you a personal notification. Instead, Mississippi law simply requires the bank to publish the foreclosure sale date in the newspaper and post a notice at the courthouse.

So, if you're facing a foreclosure in Mississippi, it’s important to understand some of the basics, including:

  • the most common type of foreclosure procedure (judicial or nonjudicial) and how it works under state law
  • your rights and protections in the process, and
  • what happens after a foreclosure sale, like whether you might be liable for a deficiency judgment.

Below we've outlined some of the most important features of Mississippi’s foreclosure laws. (To learn what to do—and what not do—if you’re facing a foreclosure, see Foreclosure Do's and Don'ts).

Most Common Type of Foreclosure Process in Mississippi

In Mississippi, the bank can use one of two different processes to foreclose:

Most banks choose the fast, easy, and inexpensive nonjudicial process.

Mississippi Nonjudicial Foreclosure Process in a Nutshell

Once the 120-day waiting period that federal law generally requires ends, the bank will start a foreclosure using the process described in the Mississippi statutes. The process is quite different than in many other states. Here’s how it works: The foreclosing bank must publish a notice of sale for three consecutive weeks before the sale date and post notice on the courthouse door. That's it. Then the bank may then sell the home at a foreclosure sale. (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-1-55).

While state law doesn’t require the bank to send a notice to the borrower, most deeds of trust require a 30-day notice about the default prior to acceleration. (An “acceleration clause” in the deed of trust permits the bank to demand that the entire balance of the loan be repaid if the borrower defaults on the loan.) And many banks will voluntarily send a 30-day notice before initiating the foreclosure, even if the terms of the deed of trust don’t require it.

Also, in most cases, federal law requires the bank to contact the borrower by phone and in writing to provide information about ways to avoid a foreclosure before the process officially starts.

Right to Reinstate Before the Sale

Under Mississippi law, the borrower may reinstate the loan (get current) at any time before the sale. (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-1-59).

No Right of Redemption After the Foreclosure Sale

In some states, the borrower can get the home back after a foreclosure sale by redeeming it. In Mississippi, however, the borrower doesn't get a post-sale right of redemption.

Deficiency Judgments

When the borrower’s total mortgage debt—the entire outstanding principal, plus interest, fees, and costs—is more than the foreclosure sale price, the difference is called a “deficiency.” Some states allow the foreclosing bank to seek a personal judgment, called a “deficiency judgment,” against the borrower for this amount. Other states prohibit deficiency judgments with what are called anti-deficiency laws.

In Mississippi, deficiency judgments are allowed if the foreclosing bank files a separate lawsuit within one year after the foreclosure sale. (Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-23). To get a deficiency judgment, the winning bid at the foreclosure sale must be reasonable based on the fair market value of the property, particularly if the bank is the high bidder. In most cases, the bank is the high bidder at the foreclosure sale. The property then becomes what’s called “Real Estate Owned” or REO.

Mississippi Law Provides Foreclosure Protections After a Natural Disaster

In the wake of a natural disaster—like a hurricane, flood, or severe thunderstorm—Mississippi law can provide foreclosure protections to homeowners who meet specific criteria. Under the law, the governor can declare a natural disaster and impose a moratorium on foreclosures for up to two years. (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-1-301, § 89-1-303, § 89-1-329).

Eligibility for a Moratorium

To qualify for the moratorium, borrowers must meet specific requirements including:

  • showing that the natural disaster directly damaged the home and that the damage was not due to some other reason
  • proving that they’re unable to pay the debt
  • demonstrating that they’ve made diligent efforts to refinance the debt, and
  • showing the property’s value was reduced by 15% or that they've sustained a loss in income derived from the mortgaged property, or are presently threatened with such loss as a direct result of such disaster, in an amount in excess 15% of the average annual income from the mortgaged property for the three years immediately before the disaster. (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-1-301).

But Mississippi’s moratorium law doesn't apply to some kinds of loans, like mortgages held by the United States or any agency of the United States, nor mortgages held as security for a public debt, for example. (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-1-323).

How to Get Relief

To take advantage of foreclosure relief under state law, you have to take specific actions, including filing a petition in court to get an injunction prohibiting the foreclosure. Also, even if a moratorium is granted, the court might require you to pay a monthly amount for taxes, insurance, interest, and, in some cases, other monthly charges. At the end of the moratorium period, the borrower must pay all past-due amounts to stop the lender from pursuing a foreclosure at that time. (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-1-303).

Other Forms of Mortgage Relief After a Natural Disaster

If you don’t qualify for a moratorium under state law after a natural disaster, you might be eligible for a foreclosure delay if you have an FHA-insured, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or VA-guaranteed loan. Also, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides financial assistance to federally-declared disaster areas, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers loans to individuals and businesses in declared disaster areas.

Getting Help Avoiding Foreclosure

If you're facing a foreclosure in Mississippi and want to learn more about the process, including your rights and whether you have any defenses, consider talking to a lawyer. To get information about loss mitigation options, speak to a HUD-approved housing counselor. Be aware that, once started, foreclosures in Mississippi move very quickly. You should explore ways to avoid foreclosure as soon as you miss a payment or think you might fall behind.

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