"I signed a lease agreement in May 2003. If I submit in writing my thirty days notice and my landlord agrees to allow me to break the lease, will I still be responsible for the remaining months in the lease?"
*** Probably not. However, I STRONGLY suggest that you get this 'early termination agreement and release from lease obligation' in writing and signed by the manager. Then, there won't be any misunderstanding or confusion as to your obligation.
"And also, the manager of the apartments told another tenant that if she broke her lease she could not get her deposit back, it was my understanding that the security deposit was for damages only that it has to be returned if there are no damages and the landlord would have to sue for the remaining rent. Is that correct?"
*** Yes. The security deposit can ONLY be used for damages. However, you need to understand that damages could include unpaid rent, late fees or penalties, in addition to actual physical damage.
This is covered in the following Mississippi Code:
" SEC. 89-8-21. Tenant's security deposit.
(3) The landlord, by written notice delivered to the tenant, may claim of such payment or deposit only such amounts as are reasonably necessary to remedy the tenant's defaults in the payment of rent, to repair damages to the premises caused by the tenant, exclusive of ordinary wear and tear, to clean such premises upon termination of the tenancy, or for other reasonable and necessary expenses incurred as the result of the tenant's default, if the payment or deposit is made for any or all of those specific purposes. The written notice by which the landlord claims all or any portion of such payment or deposit shall itemize the amounts claimed by such landlord. Any remaining portion of such payment or deposit shall be returned to the tenant no later than forty-five (45) days after the termination of his tenancy, the delivery of possession and demand by the tenant.
(4) The retention by a landlord or transferee of a payment or deposit or any portion thereof, in violation of this section and with absence of good faith, may subject the landlord or his transferee to damages not to exceed Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) in addition to any actual damages."
"Can rent be withheld if the heating unit does not work in one of the bedrooms....until it is fixed?"
*** No, but you could exercise 'repair and deduct' as provided below. The landlord has an obligation to maintain the premises, including the heating.
"SEC. 89-8-23. Duties of landlord.
1) A landlord shall at all times during the tenancy:
(b) Maintain the dwelling unit, its plumbing, heating and/or cooling system, in substantially the same condition as at the inception of the lease, reasonable wear and tear excluded, unless the dwelling unit, its plumbing, heating and/or cooling system is damaged or impaired as a result of the deliberate or negligent actions of the tenant."
However, in order to a 'repair and deduct', you have to comply with certain requirements of notice, etc. as provided by:
"SEC. 89-8-15. Repair of defects by tenant.
(1) If, within thirty (30) days after written notice to the landlord of a specific and material defect which constitutes a breach of the terms of the rental agreement or of the obligation of the landlord under Section 89-8-23, the landlord fails to repair such defect, the tenant:
(a) May repair such defect himself; and
(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) of this section, shall be entitled to reimbursement of the expenses of such repairs within forty-five (45) days after submission to the landlord of receipted bills for such work, provided that:
(i) The tenant has fulfilled his affirmative obligations under Section 89-8-25;
(ii) The expenses incurred in making such repairs do not exceed an amount equal to one (1) month's rent;
(iii) The tenant has not exercised the remedy provided by this section in the six (6) months immediately preceding; and
(iv) The tenant is current in his rental payment."
All of the above Codes can be found at: