Miss. landlords tried to cut off tenants’ utilities before governor’s ban on suspensions

Miss. landlords tried to cut off tenants’ utilities before governor’s ban on suspensions
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull) (Source: Gregory Bull)

LEE CO., Miss. (WLBT) - A Lee County judge has ordered landlords to restore utilities they had cut off to evict tenants in advance of Governor Tate Reeves’ temporary ban on suspensions.

The order, which took effect at 5 p.m. Friday, ordered the temporary suspension of disconnections by any public utility for 60 days. This includes water, sewer, gas and electricity.

In the order, it says having such utilities are vital to help prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.

“Efforts by landlords to cut off utilities to tenants or otherwise constructively evict them prior to the Governor’s moratorium on evictions...are unlawful and inequitable," said Judge Michael Malski.

The suit was filed by the Mississippi Center for Justice after two Lee County tenants had their utility services disconnected by their landlords.

"If renters suspect that they are being unlawfully evicted, or their utilities have been turned off in recent days, they are encouraged to contact the Mississippi Center for Justice,” MCJ President Vangela Wad.

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