Since 2015, Mississippi’s landlord-tenant law has undergone two significant changes that have made the eviction process even more difficult for renters. Landlords can now evict tenants on the same day they go to court for the eviction order; landlords are also permitted to keep or sell the personal property of tenants they evict.
The COVID-19 pandemic only amplified these unjust policies. Despite a national eviction moratorium, many Mississippians found themselves on the brink of homelessness. Through policy research and advocacy for rental support; a COVID-19 eviction emergency hotline; and partnering with state and local agencies to facilitate rapid rehousing and rental assistance, the Center is ensuring people across the state have access to the funds and representation necessary to maintain their home.
To date, MCJ has obtained injunctions against landlords seeking to evade Mississippi’s limited eviction moratorium; petitioned the MS Supreme Court to impose a 120-day statewide moratorium on evictions, and established a state-wide COVID eviction hotline that has served over 400 people by providing information about MS landlord-tenant law and assistance for those with a COVID-related inability to pay rent. This includes assistance preparing the CDC moratorium declaration; assistance applying for state-administered rental assistance funds; drafting letters to landlords; coaching people about virtual court hearings and the evidence needed for their case; and appearing at eviction hearings on behalf of clients located in Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties.
The Center has also advocated to state policy-makers, such as the MS Senate Housing Committee, regarding the need for rental assistance and the need to reform MS landlord-tenant law; as well as monitored the state’s administration of ESG and CARES Act rental assistance programs to maximize the utilization of these important resources.
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If you are facing eviction for non-payment and were affected by COVID-19, call our hotline at 228-702-9983.