By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill last week to change Mississippi’s eviction laws.
Alcorn County Justice Court granted 187 evictions last year and 47 from Jan. 1 to March 31 of this year, according to Clerk Jone Dixon.
The new law, which takes effect July 1, requires landlords to “present to the court a sworn affidavit” stating the reasons for the eviction. Dixon said landlords already submit affidavits in Alcorn County Justice Court.
Current law says judges “may” remove tenants from property whereas the new law says the judges “shall” remove them in certain cases.
County justice courts will now be mandated under state law to remove tenants when they default on rent payments and when “complete” satisfaction of the back rent and late fees cannot be obtained by distress of goods. The landlord must provide three days written notice.
The definition of “rent” was expanded in the new law to also include late fees. Landlords will be allowed to notify tenants of lease violations and termination dates via text or email if the parties have agreed to such communication.
Landlords will now only have to provide tenants 14 days to vacate a property when the lease has been violated as opposed to at least 30 days. This timeline applies to issues such as property damage, not back rent, which has its own process involving three days written notice.
Eviction hearings can be adjourned, but the hearing should not exceed 45 days from when the case was filed.
“The eviction process was dragging too long in many cases, needed clarifications and needed an update to recognize the electronic communication that we now use,” State Sen. Angela Burks Hill, R-Picayune, who sponsored the bill, said in an email to Corinth Today.