Mold is a widespread problem. If you plan to rent a property in Mississippi you must know your rights so you can protect yourself and your belongings in case of mold. Who is responsible for mold in Mississippi State?
Under Mississippi law, a tenant must inform the landlord if he/she has actual knowledge of any condition that may cause mold-related damages in the rental unit (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-8- 25(g)).
In this article, you will find all the needed information that you should be aware of when it comes to mold and the landlord-tenant relationship.
According to the State of Mississippi Guide to Reducing Health Hazards and Managing Repairs, there are some duties both for landlords and tenants.
- Keep the part of the premises that are occupied and use as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permits;
- All ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste must be disposed of from the dwelling unit in a clean and safe manner in compliance with community standards;
- All plumbing fixtures used by the tenant must be as clean as their condition permits;
- Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, on the premises;
- Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any other person to do so;
- Tenants or their guests must act in a manner that will not disturb a neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of their premises;
- Inform the owner on time of any condition of which they have actual knowledge which may cause mold-related damages on the premises;
Resource: List of states and mold laws here
A landlord’s responsibilities are described in the state Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (2018 Mississippi Code §§ 89-8-1 – 89-8-29) and in federal law (Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act). The following responsibilities refer to the duration of the tenant’s entire stay in the apartment.
- Comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
- Maintaining the dwelling unit, its plumbing, heating, or cooling system, in substantially the same condition as at the inception of the lease, reasonable wear and tear excluded;
- Providing the EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards.
- Sharing any known information concerning the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the home or building in the lease;
- Including a “Lead Warning Statement” in the lease that confirms the landlord has complied with all notification requirements.
How long does the landlord have to fix the mold problem in Mississippi State?
You should inform your landlord about a mold outbreak in the apartment as soon as possible. Because the owners are obliged to provide habitable housing and must make all needed repairs in the apartment within 30 days.
If the landlord does not make the repairs tenants may engage in alternate actions against the landlord by repairing and deducting the cost from the rent.
Landlords are not permitted to evict tenants in retaliation for reporting violations of landlord responsibilities.
Mold disclosure laws in Mississippi
According to Miss. Code § 89-1-501 et seq. statute, the seller of the residential property “must provide the prospective buyer with a written disclosure statement as soon as possible before the transfer of title”.
The purpose of this is to provide relevant information to the prospective tenant about the property and to prevent nasty surprises after moving into the home.
Timing of the disclosure is very important because if the landlord informs the tenant after the rental agreement is signed, the tenant automatically has a chance to terminate the lease without any legal consequences.
Can you break a rental lease in Mississippi due to mold?
The Mississippi law states that tenants are not required to provide notice for fixed end date leases. On the last day of the lease, it expires. On the other hand, Mississippi tenants have to provide written notice in the following situations:
- The termination of a week-to-week lease – 7-day written notice is required;
- The termination of a month-to-month lease – 30-day written notice is required;
- The termination of a yearly lease without an end date – A two-month written notice is required.
Among other things, such as the early termination clause and active military duty, an uninhabitable unit can be the reason for the early termination of the lease.
The state of Mississippi is not different than other states when it comes to specific health and safety codes that provide minimum standards for rental units.
If the prescribed standards are not observed, the tenant will be considered “constructively evicted”. With this, the obligation of the tenant under the lease is no longer required given that the landlord has not met their own responsibilities prescribed in the Mississippi landlord-tenant law.
Can a Mississippi tenant withhold rent due to mold?
If needed repairs aren’t made in a timely manner and if the tenants are left to fend for themselves in the fight against mold then they have a few possible options for resolving the mold problem.
Under the Mississippi landlord-tenant law tenants are not allowed to withhold rent in response to habitability issues.
On the other hand, Mississippi tenants have the right to repair the issue themselves and deduct a reasonable amount for the repair from the future rent.
Can you seek justice in court?
Mississippi tenants do have the right to file a suit against the landlord in the justice court to make the repairs. Tenants must be current on their rent and the repair and deduct remedy may only be used every six months.
Tenants relocation due to mold
Tenants need to be relocated if the mold is serious enough to cause the dwelling to be uninhabitable. In cases of mold, landlords are usually required to remediate mold at their expense, unless it is caused by the tenant.
Who covers the costs of relocation will depend on the lease terms and the laws of the applicable jurisdiction.