Lease applications

A. Any person who occupies public trust tidelands and w​hose activities thereon are not eligible for a lease exemption pursuant to Rule 4.C.(1), or statutorily exempt, must obtain a lease from the State of Mississippi.


B. Leases are divided into two categories: Standard leases and Aquaculture leases. Submerged lands, tidelands and fast lands ("reclaimed" or filled tidelands) are leased under a Standard Lease. Aquaculture activities require an Aquaculture Lease.


C. Standard Lease

1. Applications for standard leases shall include the following information:

a. Name, address, telephone number and social security number of applicant and applicant's authorized agent, if applicable.

b. Location of property to be leased including county, section, township and range; affected waterbody; vicinity map, preferably a reproduction of the appropriate portion of the current United States Geological Survey quadrangle map.

c. Satisfactory evidence of title in applicant's upland riparian property or assignment to applicant from owner of upland riparian property of riparian rights together with satisfactory evidence of title of assignor's upland riparian property, if parcel sought to be leased abuts on property which is outside the public trust.

d. Two prints of a survey prepared, signed and sealed by a person properly registered as a land surveyor by the Mississippi State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors with the following requirements: 

  • ( i ) Utilizing an appropriate scale on paper of a size adequate to provide sufficient clarity and detail;
  • ( ii ) Showing the line of mean high tide, if any; 
  • ( iii ) Showing water depths; 
  • ( iv) Showing the location of shoreline and submerged vegetation, if any; 
  • ( v ) Showing the location of any proposed structures and all existing structures, if any; 
  • ( vi ) Showing the applicant's or assignor's upland parcel property lines, if property to be leased abuts on property which is outside the public trust; 
  • ( vii ) Showing the primary navigation channels or direction to the center of the affected waterbody; and 
  • ( viii ) Including a legal description for area to be leased.

e. A non-refundable application processing fee in the amount of $150.00.

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2. Terms and conditions of a standard lease in addition to those set forth above, shall include, but not be limited to:

a.Except as provided in Rule 5.C.(2)c.(iii)(c) of these rules, the term of the lease, which shall not exceed the statutory maximum (currently 40 years). An option to renew for an additional period not to exceed 25 years may be granted.

b. A provision granting the lessee a prior right, exclusive of all other persons, to re-lease as may be agreed upon between the lessee and the Secretary.

c. The amount of the annual rent which shall be based on the following: 

  • ( I ) Leases to pre-1973 occupants of public trust tidelands (Category 1 Standard Lease) will require an annual rental payment which is equal to the ad valorem taxes on the value of the land, excluding the value of any privately owned improvements thereon, at the time the lease is executed.
  • ( a ) If the lessee expands his use by more than 50%, then he will automatically and immediately become a Category 2 Standard Lease lessee and will be required to make annual rental payments according to Category 2 Standard Lease computation.
  • ( b ) Category 1 Standard Leases are freely transferable for a period of 15 years or until July 1, 2003, whichever period is less. After the expiration of said lesser period, the lease becomes a Category 2 Standard Lease and the lessee must make annual rental payments according to that calculation.
  • ( c ) In the event that the public trust tidelands to be leased, or any portion of them, are not on the tax rolls, the lessee must make annual rental payments for such portion according to Category 2 Standard Lease rental calculation.
  • ( d ) Category 1 Standard Leases shall be effective December 31 of the year in which they are negotiated; ad valorem property taxes must be paid for that year to the appropriate taxing authority. 
  • ( II ) Leases to post-1973 occupants of public trust tidelands will require an annual rental payment which shall be negotiated but which in no event shall be less than 3.3% of market value for fast lands and 7¢ per square foot for submerged lands or tidelands. 
  • ( a ) The market value of fast lands is the appraised value of the property as shown on the tax rolls of the county or other taxing authority. Tidelands which are fast lands and which do not appear on the tax rolls will be appraised and added to the county's tax roll by the county tax assessor.
  • ( b ) If the tax roll shows the parcel as a combination of public trust tidelands and privately owned land, market value of the public trust tidelands is that percentage of the appraised value of the parcel as a whole that equals the ratio of public trust acreage to the acreage of the parcel as a whole.

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d. A provision for review and rent adjustments at each five year anniversary, based upon updated county or municipal tax rolls for Category 1 Standard Leases, and based upon the All Urban Consumer Price Index - All Items (CPI), or an appraisal paid for by the lessee, whichever would indicate the greater increase for Category 2 Standard Leases. Said appraisal must deduct the value of any improvements belonging to the lessee which substantially enhance the value of the property.

e. A casualty clause providing that in the event of destruction by natural causes of improvements on the leased premises, the lessee may opt to terminate the lease agreement, provided he leaves the property in a condition equal to or better than its condition at the inception of the lease.

f. A provision requiring the lessee to maintain a policy of liability insurance and to indemnify and hold harmless the lessor from and against all claims for damages or injuries, no matter how caused.

g. A provision that in the event of the death of the lessee, the lease shall descend to his heirs at law who may assume the lease, its rights, duties and obligations.

h. The right to assignment or sublease, upon written approval of the Secretary of State, which approval shall not arbitrarily be withheld. (Cf. Rule 5 C(2)c.(i)(b), p. 10)

i. A provision guaranteeing public access during the term of the lease if public access is afforded at the time the lease is contracted or if the lease is for a new activity, unless the lessee is a qualified industrial applicant. Industrial applicants who are unable to afford meaningful public access to the premises may seek a waiver of this requirement. However, leases which fail to provide such public access are to be discouraged.

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D. Aquaculture Lease

1. Applications for aquaculture leases shall include the following:

a. Name, address, telephone number and social security number of applicant;

b. Legal description and acreage of parcel sought to be leased;

c. Two prints of a survey of the parcel sought to be leased prepared, signed and sealed by a person properly registered by the Mississippi State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors or an agent of the federal government acceptable to the Secretary of State;

d. Description of the aquaculture activities to be conducted, including whether such activities are to be experimental or commercial, and an assessment of the current capability of the applicant to conduct such activities;

e. Statement setting forth the reasons such a lease would be in the public interest;

f. A list of the names and addresses of all claimants of littoral or riparian rights in or adjacent to the parcel to be leased, and all lessees of adjacent or contiguous properties;

g. Statement of the impact of the proposed use of the public trust tidelands sought to be leased on the ecology of the area;

h. A $150.00 non-refundable application processing fee.

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2. Each aquaculture lease shall include the following terms and provisions, but not in limitation thereof:

a. The term of the lease which shall not exceed the statutory term, with an option to renew.

b. The amount of the annual rent which shall be negotiated but which in no event shall be less than $25.00 per acre to be paid at the time of the execution of the lease and on each successive anniversary date thereof.

c. A provision for payment of the variable portion of lease fee, if any, at the end of lessee's fiscal year.

d. The disposition to be made of all improvements and animal and plant life upon the termination or cancellation of the lease.

e. The right to assignment or sublease, upon approval of the Secretary of State.

f. Casualty clause providing that in the event of destruction by natural causes of the aquaculture venture on the leased premises, the lessee may opt to terminate the lease agreement, provided he leaves the property in a condition acceptable to the lessor, or in its natural state.

g. A clause assuring that lessee will maintain adequate casualty insurance, the proceeds of which will be used for salvage operations in the event of catastrophic destruction.

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3. The parcel leased shall be identified, well marked and shall have, except when it will interfere with the development of the animal and plant life being cultivated by the lessee, reasonable public access for boating, swimming and fishing. All limitations on the public use of the parcel leased as set forth in the lease shall be clearly posted in conspicuous places by the lessee. Each parcel leased shall be marked in compliance with the rules and regulations of the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​