What can I legally do about a tenant who does not pay on time that I can never contact?
11/29/2007 - Landlord Tenant - State: MS #13059
I rented my house in Mississippi when I moved to California. The tenant signed a 12-month lease beginning September 1, 2007. She has yet to pay on-time. I allowed her to pay the $900 security deposit in three payments (she still owes $700). Rent is due on the 5th, and November rent has not been paid as of the 29th. She refuses to return phone calls. Now I am unexpectedly unemployed and moving back to Texas to stay with family. I'd like to retake possession of the house to live in and prepare for sale. There is limited equity, but if the tenant isn't paying on time, I can no longer afford to cover the mortgage, much less any unexpected expenses (air condition, water heater, etc). I do not need my only "savings account" going into foreclosure. This is my first (and last) attempt at being a long distance landlord.
The following are Mississippi statutes:
§ 89-8-13. Right to terminate tenancy for breach; notice of breach; return of prepaid rent and security.
(1) If there is a material noncompliance by the tenant with the rental agreement or the obligations imposed by Section 89-8-25, the landlord may terminate the tenancy as set out in subsection (3) of this section or resort to any other remedy at law or in equity except as prohibited by this chapter.
(2) If there is a material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or the obligations imposed by Section 89-8-23, the tenant may terminate the tenancy as set out in subsection (3) of this section or resort to any other remedy at law or in equity except as prohibited by this chapter.
(3) The nonbreaching party may deliver a written notice to the party in breach specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than thirty (30) days after receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied within a reasonable time not in excess of thirty (30) days; and the rental agreement shall terminate and the tenant shall surrender possession as provided in the notice subject to the following:
(a) If the breach is remediable by repairs, the payment of damages, or otherwise, and the breaching party adequately remedies the breach prior to the date specified in the notice, the rental agreement shall not terminate;
(b) In the absence of a showing of due care by the breaching party, if substantially the same act or omission which constituted a prior noncompliance of which notice was given recurs within six (6) months, the nonbreaching party may terminate the rental agreement upon at least fourteen (14) days' written notice specifying the breach and the date of termination of the rental agreement;
(c) Neither party may terminate for a condition caused by his own deliberate or negligent act or omission or that of a member of his family or other person on the premises with his consent.
(4) If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all prepaid and unearned rent and security recoverable by the tenant under Section 89-8-21.
(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or any other provisions of this chapter to the contrary, if the material noncompliance by the tenant is the nonpayment of rent pursuant to the rental agreement, the landlord shall not be required to deliver thirty (30) days' written notice as provided by subsection (3) of this section. In such event, the landlord may seek removal of the tenant from the premises in the manner and with the notice prescribed by Chapter 7, Title 89, Mississippi Code of 1972.
§ 89-8-19. Length of term of tenancy; notice to terminate tenancy; exception to notice requirement.
(1) Unless the rental agreement fixes a definite term a tenancy shall be week to week in case of a tenant who pays weekly rent, and in all other cases month to month.
(2) The landlord or the tenant may terminate a week-to-week tenancy by written notice given to the other at least seven (7) days prior to the termination date.
(3) The landlord or the tenant may terminate a month-to-month tenancy by a written notice given to the other at least thirty (30) days prior to the termination date.
(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, notice to terminate a tenancy shall not be required to be given when the landlord or tenant has committed a substantial violation of the rental agreement or this chapter that materially affects health and safety.
§ 89-7-7. Remedy by action for rent in arrear.
A person having rent in arrear or due upon any lease or demise of lands for life or lives, for years, at will, or otherwise, may bring an action for such arrears of rent against the person who ought to have paid the same or his legal representative.
§ 89-7-23. Notice to terminate tenancy.
Notice to quit shall be necessary only where the term is not to expire at a fixed time. In all cases in which a notice is required to be given by the landlord or tenant to determine a tenancy, two (2) months' notice, in writing, shall be given where the holding is from year to year, and one (1) month's notice shall be given where the holding is by the half-year or quarter-year; and where the letting is by the month or by the week, one (1) week's notice, in writing, shall be given. This section shall not apply to rental agreements governed by the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
§ 89-7-25. Tenant holding after notice liable for double rent.
When a tenant, being lawfully notified by his landlord, shall fail or refuse to quit the demised premises and deliver up the same as required by the notice, or when a tenant shall give notice of his intention to quit the premises at a time specified, and shall not deliver up the premises at the time appointed, he shall, in either case, thenceforward pay to the landlord double the rent which he should otherwise have paid, to be levied, sued for, and recovered as the single rent before the giving of notice could be; and double rent shall continue to be paid during all the time the tenant shall so continue in possession.
§ 89-7-27. Proceedings against tenant holding over.
A tenant or lessee at will or at sufferance, or for part of a year, or for one or more years, of any houses, lands, or tenements, and the assigns, under-tenants, or legal representatives of such tenant or lessee, may be removed from the premises by the judge of the county court, any justice of the peace of the county, or by the mayor or police justice of any city, town, or village where the premises, or some part thereof, are situated, in the following cases, to wit:
First. — Where such tenant shall hold over and continue in possession of the demised premises, or any part thereof, after the expiration of his term, without the permission of the landlord.
Second. — After any default in the payment of the rent pursuant to the agreement under which such premises are held, and when satisfaction of the rent cannot be obtained by distress of goods, and three days' notice, in writing, requiring the payment of such rent or the possession of the premises, shall have been served by the person entitled to the rent on the person owing the same.
§ 89-7-29. Affidavit to remove.
The landlord or lessor, his legal representatives, agents, or assigns, in order to have the benefit of such proceedings, shall make oath or affirmation of the facts which, according to the last preceding section, authorize the removal of the tenant, describing therein the premises claimed and the amount of rent due and when payable, and that the necessary notice has been given to terminate such tenancy.
§ 89-7-41. Form of judgment for landlord.
If the decision be in favor of the landlord or other person claiming the possession of the premises, the magistrate shall issue his warrant to the sheriff, constable, or other officer, commanding him forthwith to put such landlord or other person into possession of the premises, and to levy the costs of the proceedings of the goods and chattels, lands and tenements, of the tenant or person in possession of the premises who shall have controverted the right of the landlord or other person.
§ 89-7-51. Lien of landlord.
(1) Every lessor of land shall have a lien on the agricultural products of the leased premises, however and by whomsoever produced, to secure the payment of the rent and of money advanced to the tenant, and the fair market value of all advances made by him to his tenant for supplies for the tenant and others for whom he may contract, and for his business carried on upon the leased premises. This lien shall be paramount to all other liens, claims, or demands upon such products when perfected in accordance with Uniform Commercial Code Article 9 — Secured Transactions (Section 75-9-101, et seq.). The claim of the lessor for supplies furnished may be enforced in the same manner and under the same circumstances as his claim for rent may be; and all the provisions of law as to attachment for rent and proceedings under it shall be applicable to a claim for supplies furnished, and such attachment may be levied on any goods and chattels liable for rent, as well as on the agricultural products.
(2) All articles of personal property, except a stock of merchandise sold in the normal course of business, owned by the lessee of real property and situated on the leased premises shall be subject to a lien in favor of the lessor to secure the payment of rent for such premises as has been contracted to be paid, whether or not then due. Such lien shall be subject to all prior liens or other security interests perfected according to law. No such articles of personal property may be removed from the leased premises until such rent is paid except with the written consent of the lessor. All of the provisions of law as to attachment for rent and proceedings thereunder shall be applicable with reference to the lessor's lien under this subsection.
Please also see the information at the following links:
http://lawdigest.uslegal.com/landlord-tenant/uniform-residential-landlord-tenant-act/2991/ http://lawdigest.uslegal.com/landlord-tenant/summary-of-residential-landlord-tenant-law/3008/ http://lawdigest.uslegal.com/landlord-tenant/lease-termination/3009/
11/29/2007 - Category: Landlord Tenant - State: MS #13059
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