Residential leases bill named for city student pushes through House

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A bill on residential leases bearing the name of a Mississippi State University student from Vicksburg who died in 2009 has passed a vote in the state House of Representatives.

House bill 1275, or the “Derrick Beard Act” allows co-signers on apartments and rented homes to have a lease terminated if a primary lessee dies before a lease expires.

The bill, authored by state Rep. Alex Monsour, R-Vicksburg, passed 117-1, with state Rep. Tad Campbell, R-Meridian, dissenting. The bill moves to the state Senate.

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Beard died in September 2009 in a one-vehicle accident on U.S. 82 in Webster County when, according to authorities, his 2005 Ford Mustang left the road, hit a tree and burned.

His mother, Bobbie Beard, had co-signed a 12-month lease at a Starkville apartment complex, a pact from which she was not immediately released.

Provisions of the bill allow for landlords to receive debts owed for the month the primary lessee dies. Attempts to waive the early, death-related termination will be considered void and unforceable, the bill says.