A Mississippi bill that would speed up the process of evicting tenants who don't pay their rent is headed to the governor's office.
The Landlord Tenant Act would require renters move right away, when a Mississippi judge issues an eviction order because they haven't paid their rent. House Republican Brent Powell of Brandon argued for Senate Bill 2716 on the House floor. He says it takes up to 45 days to get an eviction order, time tenants can use to pay their rent. He says the problem causes financial hardship for landlords.
"That landlord has a note on his property and now he can't pay that note. Now the bank's going to take that property," said Powell.
During the House debate, Democrat John Hines of Greenville questioned Powell, who is a landlord, about the bill.
"Have you or anybody talked to the justice court judges about this" said Hines. "I've not personally," said Powell. "So what have you done with this piece of legislation beside try to push it down our throat," said Hines. "I'm not trying to push it down anybody's throat. But I mean the landlord is not a governmental entity. He's entitled to his rent, if they're not paying the rent they need to get out," said Powell.
Powell says he does work out payment plans with his tenants. He added the measure allows renters to stay in the property, if they pay what they owe during eviction proceedings.
"The last thing you want is a vacant house. It's just sitting there you not making any money. But the really last thing you want is a dead beat tenant who refuses to pay and you're going back and forth to the courts," said Powell.
Powell says judges can give people three days to move in hardship cases. House Democrat David Baria of Bay St. Louis offered an amendment requiring judges give people three days. It failed.
"Give people enough time to get their stuff together and get out. I mean that 3 day period is not onerous. It's reasonable," said Baria.
Senate Bill 2716 passed and goes to the governor for his signature.