Mississippi eviction laws vary from county to county, but they still follow the same general steps for an eviction process:
Every eviction process is different. It depends on the lease/rental agreement signed by the tenant and the landlord.
This article details a summary for landlords to refer to when evicting a tenant. A landlord may also seek legal advice from an attorney.
Confirm procedures and information with your justice court to ensure the entire process goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Nonpayment of rent
To start off the Mississippi eviction process, rent is usually considered late a day past it is due. A grace period may be available if stated in the lease/written agreement.
Before a landlord can start the eviction process, they must give a tenant in Mississippi an official written 3-Day Notice to Pay form.
The notice must have been delivered properly.
If the tenant can pay the rent due within those 3 days, then the filing for eviction does not continue. If they cannot pay rent, the landlord reserves the right to continue filing to evict a tenant.
2. Breach of the lease/rental agreement
The terms of the lease have to be upheld by both tenant and landlord for the entire duration of their stay. Agreements may vary from tenant to tenant.
If a tenant fails to uphold any terms from the lease agreement, the landlord must give a 14-Day Notice to Quit form. If the tenant resolves these issues on time, the eviction process must not continue.
Lease violations may include:
- Damage to the property
- Smoking in non-smoking areas
- Keeping pets in pet-free properties, etc.
- Engaging in illegal behavior on or near the property
If the lease violations are not resolved, or they remain on the property within that amount of time, then the landlord must continue with the process to evict a tenant.
3. Material health or safety violation
Mississippi law takes into account the health, building, safety, and housing codes. If a tenant violates any of these codes, the landlord is not legally obligated to give the tenant time to fix the problem, nor are they required to send a written notice.
Violations under this could include:
- Not throwing out trash for long periods of time, inviting bugs and/or rodents.
- Damaging the electrical wiring of a unit
- Ruining the plumbing fixtures of a unit
You can skip the notice steps for this violation.
4. Non-renewal of the lease after the rental period ends
In Mississippi, landlords cannot take eviction action against a tenant or force them to vacate the property without probable cause—and without a notice. As long as the tenant does not violate any rules, they can stay within the days of their rental period.
But if they stay in the property even a day after their lease/rental agreement ends and have not arranged for a renewal, a landlord may issue a written notice to move.
Filing a Complaint
1. How to File a Complaint
The eviction process can only begin after the issuance of the appropriate eviction notice. An appropriate notice period must have been allowed before filing for eviction.
The eviction process steps as follow:
- Proceed to the Mississippi justice court the rental property belongs to
- File a complaint
- You may need your city’s zip code
- Pay the fees
There may be more steps depending on your justice court’s rules and regulations.
It takes within 3 days to 1 month from the issuance of the Notice to Vacate/Quit. The notice must have been given to the tenant properly.
This is ensured with a return receipt signed by the tenant.
Serving the Tenant
1. How to Serve a Tenant
An official from the court delivers the summons for the hearing and the complaint to the tenant at least 5 days in county court before the return date. The sheriff’s office is usually assigned this task.
Alternatively, someone else who is at least 18 years old and is not involved in any aspect of the case may be assigned this task.
There are several methods available to serve these documents:
- Personal Service: The court official delivers the Summons and Complaint to the tenant in person
- Substituted Service: If the tenant is unavailable, someone living with the tenant who is over the age of 16 may receive the documents. When using this method, a copy must also be mailed to the tenant through first-class mail
- Publishing: Send the copy to a local paper for publishing. When using this method, ensure that there are no other means for the tenant to receive their copy in person
- Posting and Mailing: The representative leaves a copy of the documents for the tenant. It is placed in a secure and visible position by the entrance of the tenant’s rented property. When using this method, ensure that there are no other means for the tenant to receive their copy in person. A copy must also be sent through certified mail.
The sheriff’s office holds the final say in the method.
2. After Serving the Summons and Complaint
The tenant has at least 5 days before the eviction hearing date to prepare if they are in county court.
The documents should be served to the tenant within 5 days before the hearing.
A postponement of the hearing (called a continuance) can be requested for a maximum of 10 days if the eviction is about nonpayment of rent.
Asking for Possession
1. Filing a Motion to Obtain Judgement and get a Judgement for Possession
The landlord has to provide a strong argument backed up by solid evidence against the tenant. If the tenant fails to appear at the hearing, the landlord wins by default.
2. Next procedure if the tenant disagreed and replied
In the state of Mississippi, a reply from the tenant is not necessary for a court date to be scheduled. They only have to show up to the hearing.
The landlord needs to support the claim with evidence and show it during the court hearing.
This could include, but is not limited to the following:
- Copy of the deed and lease
- Copy of any notices given to the tenant
- Rent receipts and ledgers
- Bank statements
- Witness information
- Photo and video documentation of the violations, correspondence, etc.
Eviction hearings are scheduled 5 to 10 days after the Summons and Complaint is issued regardless of when the documents were served to the tenant.
1. After the landlord wins the case
Provided that the tenant does not appeal for reconsideration, a Writ of Execution is a court order that is issued either immediately or 5 days after judgment was granted to the landlord.
If the eviction hearing was about nonpayment of rent, the Writ of Execution is given immediately, but it will be released after 5 days for other types of eviction orders.
A judge can grant a maximum of 3 days to stay the execution. It would have to be for a good cause.
Tenants can continue staying in the property within 3 days.
2. Move out process
There is no clear timeframe for when the tenant has to move out once the Writ or court order is issued. At best, they have a maximum of 5 to 8 days to move out of the rental property.
However, if it was an eviction about failure to pay rent, they must immediately move out.
The tenants have a few hours to 8 days upon the court order’s issuance of the Writ of Execution to vacate the property.
Mississippi Eviction Timeline
Below is the average timeline for a complete eviction process. This timeline does not include special cases such as requests for an appeal or continuance.
On average, it would take anywhere between half a month to 2 months for a complete eviction process.
1. How to keep good records
If the tenant disagrees with the eviction request and they reply to the court, it’s important that you keep extremely good records of everything so you can provide proof to the judge and win your case. This part can make or break your entire eviction request in the event of a dispute.
You can stay organized by:
- Keeping a physical paper trail - This gets VERY hard to search through, takes up a lot of storage space, and could get lost, damaged, stolen, or burnt in a fire.
- Scanning documents - Scan every document into your computer. A great scanner is the Brother ADS-1700W for under $200 or the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500 for $400.
- Backups - Store and backup every file using Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or any other option that is easily searchable.
- PMS - Use a property management software to save everything from lease agreements, signed documents, violations, emails, notes, invoices, payments, reminders, maintenance requests, pictures, videos, and anything you can imagine. This is most useful when you store all of the documents in the software.
2. Evidence to show for not paying rent
If the tenant doesn’t pay rent, and they dispute that claim, it’s important that you show the judge the following:
- Your lease agreement - Showing the terms of the agreement, when rent is due, and any penalties for late payment.
- All payments - Showing all previous payments, how they were normally made (check, credit card, ACH, etc…), and what date they were normally paid on.
- Any payment returns - If their check bounced, their bank account had insufficient funds, or they did a chargeback dispute on their credit card, show this to the Judge. Also show any fees your bank may have charged you, and any penalties you are owed according to your lease agreement.
- All messages - If you sent your tenant automated or manual payment reminders by text, email, a letter, or mail, it can be very useful to show all of this. While it’s usually not needed, it’s still good to show that they were aware of the situation and were given time to cure and make payment. This is why it’s always best to have everything in writing instead of any phone calls or face-to-face meetings.
3. Evidence to show for lease violations
If you are evicting the tenant for lease violations, for example, noise complaints, unauthorized pets, or property damages, it’s important to show proof from any of the following methods:
- Security Cameras - If you have a surveillance system that can show them committing the crime or lease violation, it’s safe to say you will normally win this dispute.
- Video - If you didn’t catch them in the act, it can still be suffice to record them on your phone camera committing the violation.
- Pictures - They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, a picture could be worth thousands of dollars! Even if you take a video, it’s important to show the Judge any pictures too as it’s usually easier to see by email or printed.
- Lease Terms - Once again, show the court which term they violated in their lease agreement. Don’t worry if you don’t have every single term spelled out in your rental agreement. If the violation is bad enough, it might not be needed to have it written. As a good practice though, start adding all of the potential reasons to evict a tenant into your agreement.
Can I force a tenant to move out without a Writ of Execution in Mississippi?
Yes. A landlord is allowed to do self-help evictions in Mississippi as long as they do not breach the peace, and that it was clearly stated and allowed in the written lease.
Furthermore, they also have to follow the correct process by providing a clear written notice before proceeding with the eviction. A court order is not necessary.
What is a self-help eviction?
Self-help evictions can include:
- Cutting off the tenant’s electric, water, and/or heat supply
- Changing the locks to prevent the tenant from entering the property
- Vandalizing or destroying the tenant’s property
How do I evict a family member in Mississippi?
You still follow the same process as with all the other tenants.
What other laws should I be aware of in Mississippi?
Check out laws on Security Deposits. These deposits protect the landlord in case the tenants violate any terms in the lease/rental agreement or fail to pay their rent.