Legislative Changes – Now and Later

HB 807 – extends the automatic repealer in Miss. Code Ann. Section 29-1-75 to July 1, 2022. This is the statute that limits the ability of corporations and non-resident aliens to purchase public lands. This bill became effective on July 1, 2019.

HB 869 – regulates private project construction bonds. This bill adds a new Section 85-7-432 that gives subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, materialmen to the subcontractors and sub-contractors, and laborers who have worked on the project, and who have not been paid within ninety days, a right of action on a payment bond. It also amends Section 85-7-431 to provide that a contractor can bond over liens of subcontractors and materialmen with a private project construction bond, as provided in new Section 85-7-432. This bill became effective on July 1, 2019.

HB 962 – amends Miss. Code Ann. Section 89-1-69, which prohibits transfer fees in subdivision covenants, to narrow some of the exceptions to application of the statute. In other words, this statute makes it more likely that transfer fees in subdivision covenants will not be enforceable. This bill became effective on July 1, 2019.

HB 1307 – amends Section 27-45-27 to provide that neither the purchaser of land at a tax sale nor any holder of title under him by descent or purchase shall have the right to challenge the validity of the tax sale. This bill became effective on July 1, 2019.

HB 1375 – makes a number of changes to Chapter 91 of the Mississippi Code dealing with the administration of wills and estates. This bill was the product of a study group organized by the Secretary of State’s office. This bill became effective on July 1, 2019.

HB 1612 – authorizes municipalities to create local improvement assessment districts. Taxpayers within the district can vote to impose an assessment to pay for public improvements within the district. This bill became effective on July 1, 2019.

SB 2828 – Mississippi Guardianship and Conservatorship Act or GAP (“Guard and Protect”) Act. The Gap Act replaces most of the existing statutes on guardians and conservators. It was the product of a study group appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court. Of particular interest to real estate attorneys is that under the Act only a conservator has authority over the property of a person. The Gap Act will become effective on January 1, 2020. For more information about the Gap Act, see Ken Farmer’s article in the June 2019 edition of the newsletter of the Land Title Association of Mississippi.

SB 2716 – makes landlord-friendly changes to the tenant eviction process. Among other changes, the bill provides that when the eviction is based on non-payment of rent, the judge must immediately issue a warrant for removal, unless the judge determines that a stay not to exceed three days “would best serve the interests of justice and equity.” An amendment was offered to SB 2716 that would have made the three-day stay of removal automatic, but this amendment was defeated. This legislation by its terms became effective upon passage.

SB 2901 – Landowners Protection Act-This Act limits the liability of owners to invitees for acts of third parties. It adds a new section to the Code that provides that no person who owns or manages commercial or other real property shall be liable to an invitee who is injured by a third party unless the injured person proves that the conduct of the owner or manager, “with a degree of conscious decision-making, impelled the conduct of said third party, …” The Act also amends Section 85-5-7, the statute defining “fault” for purposes of joint and several liability, to provide that in a premises-liability action alleging tortious conduct of a third party, “fault” includes any tort that results from an act or omission committed with a specific wrongful intent. The Landowner Protection Act became effective on July 1, 2019.

Bills that did not make it out of the legislature this year, and that likely will be introduced again in the 2020 Legislature, include HB 777, the Revised Mississippi Law on Notarial Acts; SB 2856, which authorizes counties and municipalities to establish land banks; HB 554, amendments to increase the amount of historic tax credits; and HB 1425, the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act.

Originally published in the July 2019 Newsletter of the Real Property Section of The Mississippi Bar.

This article was written by Rod Clement. To learn more about Rod Clement and his practice visit his LTAMS member profile or firm profile.