To evict a tenant in Mississippi, landlords must carefully follow all of the laws or the eviction might not be valid. This article outlines the basic rules and procedures landlords and property managers must follow when evicting a tenant in Mississippi.
The first step in an eviction is for the landlord to terminate the tenancy. This can only be done if the landlord has legal cause to evict the tenant. Mississippi law defines legal cause as either the tenant failing to pay rent or violating the lease or rental agreement. To terminate the tenancy for one of these reasons, the landlord must give the tenant written notice.
If a landlord wants to terminate a tenancy but does not have legal cause, then the landlord will have to wait until the term of the tenancy has expired. In some cases, the landlord will still need to give the tenant written notice to move.
A landlord who wants to end a month-to-month tenancy but does not have legal cause to evict the tenant, can give the tenant a written 30-day notice to move. This notice will inform the tenant that the landlord is terminating the month-to-month tenancy and that the tenant needs to move out of the rental unit within 30 days. If the tenant does not move out, then the landlord can proceed with an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-8-19 (2021).)
A landlord who wants to end a fixed-term lease (such as a lease for one year) but does not have legal cause, must wait until the end of the term before expecting the tenant to move. Unless the terms of the lease specifically require it, the landlord is not required to give the tenant written notice to move.
The tenant might decide to fight the eviction, even if the landlord has a valid legal cause to evict the tenant. The tenant could also have a valid legal defense, such as the landlord failing to maintain the rental unit or the landlord not following all of the legally required eviction procedures. The tenant's decision to fight the eviction could increase the costs of the lawsuit and allow the tenant more time to remain living in the rental unit.
A tenant can only be removed from a rental unit after a landlord has won an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. At that time, a law enforcement officer with a court order will remove the tenant from the rental unit. The landlord is never allowed to force the tenant to move out of the rental unit, and the tenant can sue the landlord for an illegal eviction.
After the tenant is evicted, the landlord might find that the tenant has left behind personal belongings. When a landlord includes the following language in an eviction summons, then, once an eviction order is issued, the landlord can dispose of any abandoned property at the landlord's discretion:
At the hearing, a judge will determine if the landlord is granted exclusive possession of the premises. If the judge grants possession of the premises to the landlord and you do not remove your personal property, including any manufactured home, from the premises before the date and time ordered by the judge, then the landlord may dispose of your personal property without any further legal action.
(Miss. Code Ann. § 89-7-31 (2021).)
Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Mississippi law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction might not be valid. Although these rules and procedures can seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, and the end result is serious: the tenant has lost a place to live. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new home.