Nikita Sweeney signed a six month lease for a west Jackson rental house. Sweeney has receipts from three of the months she's rented. The mom of two said her landlord didn't give her the other receipts. Sweeney said she's paid rent on-time every month until this month. She didn't want to pay up now because she said her landlord hasn't fixed issues, like a leaky tub faucet and decaying kitchen. Through our investigation we questioned whether or not it's legal not to pay rent.
Sweeney showed us around her home. "This wall I guess I don't know if it's burnt, rotted out or what it is, but I got holes up there, I got lizards and snails coming out here," Sweeney told WLBT.
Landlord Anthony Williams defends his property.
"She didn't pay her rent on time and I came down here and fixed everything that she said she wanted fixed," said Williams.
Jackson attorney Damon Stevenson offered us his landlord/tenant legal advice.
"It's always important to know the terms of the contract, that the parties enter into because that's what's going to govern," said Stevenson.
Here's the state law when it comes to getting rental repairs, involving issues like plumbing or heating complete. You can give the landlord notice in writing of specific issues you want fixed. If repairs aren't done within 30 days of written notice you can fix it yourself.
Make sure you save the bills. Your landlord must reimburse you or deduct the cost of repairs you pay for from future rent. Also, keep in mind, expenses for repairs can't exceed your rent. Plus, in order for this law to apply, your rent must be current and tenants must fulfill their legal duties.
Some of those duties include keeping the unit clean, getting rid of garbage and not deliberately or negligently destroying the property.
If you're renting, here are some important things to keep in mind. Always put things you request in writing and make copies. Also, if you're told items will be fixed after you move in get that in the lease. Don't enter into a lease if you can't comfortably move in when you sign the agreement. Plus, research the landlord before you move.
Landlords have legal obligations and rights too. They're required by law to maintain their property. Maintenance includes plumbing, heating and cooling systems. Also, landlords always have the right to receive timely rent.
"You just can't say that if you don't fix the heat I'm not paying you," Stevenson told WLBT.
A City of Jackson ordinance also requires landlords to have rental properties inspected before a tenant moves in. The inspections are only required for rental homes and buildings with four apartments or less. The city inspected 2,600 properties from February 2011 to October 2012. Sweeney's rental property was inspected in October, months after her move-in.
When the city inspects, "we look at the electrical, the plumbing, the overall component of the building," said the City of Jackson's Deputy Director of Code Services, Kenneth Taylor.
If you live in Jackson and want a rental property inspection, call the City of Jackson's Building Permit Department at 601-960-1159. For rental property complaints call 311.
Also, keep in mind that writing a check is typically the best way to pay your rent because you have a record of payment. However, even if you pay your rent with a money order or cash you should receive a receipt.
Nikita Sweeney is looking for a new place to live with her children. Please contact our newsroom at 601-960-4426 if you're able to help her.
Saturday, May 25 2013 4:20 PM EDT2013-05-25 20:20:27 GMT
Judge Bill Gowan's Hinds County courtroom is in session for the 6th day of the James Hutto murder trial. Hutto, who is known for making obnoxious outbursts in court, has already made several erraticMore >>
After 6 days of testimony, evidence and many loud and obnoxious outbursts by Hutto, a jury has unanimously found him guilty of capital murder.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:46 PM EDT2013-05-25 01:46:35 GMT
The list of the names is a part of rotating lists of names. For example, the list used in 2012 is used in 2018. Each storm will be named alphabetically. The lists of names are chosen by World MeteorologicalMore >>
The names for the 2013 North Atlantic hurricane season.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 00:30:42 GMT
Yesterday we first told you about two parents of Boyd Elementary school students, who say their children were sexually assaulted by another student. The parents were furious that no action had been takenMore >>
Thursday we first told you about two parents of Boyd Elementary school students, who say their children were sexually assaulted by another student. The parents were furious that no action had been taken on their cases. Today more parents are speaking out about their children also falling victims.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:22 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:22:29 GMT
James Hutto interrupted his own capital murder trial Tuesday morning, angry that judge Bill Gowan decided against the admissibility of certain evidence. "None of that matters? F***. I don't give a f***More >>
A capital murder case defendant, known for his abrasive outbursts and odd behavior in court, entered court Friday morning with a limp. James Hutto told Judge Bill Gowan that he needed to be excused for the day because the shackles on his legs had been irritating his skin. More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:19 PM EDT2013-05-25 01:19:22 GMT
A Vicksburg man was killed in a one vehicle accident on I-20 in Warren County Friday afternoon.Forty-nine-year-old Johnny Johnson was traveling westbound when he lost control of his 2004 Chevrolet at mileMore >>
A Vicksburg man was killed in a one vehicle accident on I-20 in Warren County Friday afternoon.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 10:33 AM EDT2013-05-24 14:33:13 GMT
A battle of words from the attorneys representing Jackson Police Officer Terrance Crump and Shane Patrick. Crump's attorney Warren Martin says Patrick yelled racial slurs when walking out of the store.More >>
A battle of words from the attorneys representing Jackson Police Officer Terrance Crump and Shane Patrick has sparked after both parties claim they were the victim in a fight at an Edwards gas station. More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 6:04 PM EDT2013-05-24 22:04:01 GMT
Friday morning, Paul Williams told viewers it would be beautiful, summerlike Mississippi day. That was his last forecast for WLBT. Paul is leaving to become the Chief Meteorologist at the ABC affiliateMore >>
Friday morning, Paul Williams told viewers it would be beautiful, summerlike Mississippi day. That was his last forecast for WLBT. Paul is leaving to become the Chief Meteorologist at the ABC affiliate in Memphis.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:09 GMT
A wreck involving a Hinds County Deputy happened on Highway 80 in Brandon, Friday afternoon. The female deputy's cruiser collided with another car. The front bumper of the cruiser was barely hangingMore >>
A wreck involving a Hinds County Deputy happened on Highway 80 in Brandon, Friday afternoon. The female deputy's cruiser collided with another car.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:58 PM EDT2013-05-25 18:58:48 GMT
Jefferson County Community Work Center inmate MELVIN TONEY, MDOC #K1985, left from the facility, in Fayette at approximately 6:00 a.m. today. TONEY was last seen wearing MDOC state-issued green and whiteMore >>
Authorities are searching for a MS Department of Corrections inmate who escaped this morning.