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Tennessee Tenant-Landlord Law

by Jean-Raphael Decaux

Tennessee-Tenant-Landlord-Law-Fast-Facts

Fair Housing

The Fair Housing Act was created in order to ensure that everyone is treated equally during the housing process. It protects tenants from discrimination when seraching for a rental property. At the federal level the Fair Housing Act protects the following classes…

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • Disability

Learn about fair housing at the federal level here https://resources.hemlane.com/landlord-must-know-fair-housing/

Tennessee protects the same categories as federal law (Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 4-21-601 – 4-21-607).


Security Deposits

  • Maximum amount landlord can charge: No statute for the maximum a landlord can charge for a security deposit.
  • Returning the security deposit: After the tenant moves out, the landlord has 30 days to return the security deposit to the tenant (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-301(g)(1)).
  • Bank account requirements: Landlords must keep security deposits in a separate account from their other funds, meaning they cannot commingle the funds (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-301(a)).
  • Security deposit deduction notice upon move out: When moving out, it is required that landlords provide tenants with an itemized list detailing any damages that would be the reason that the tenant only receives part of the deposit back. The move out inspection can be done jointly at the tenant’s request (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-301(b)(2)).

Rent and Late Fees

  • Rent Fee: Payment amount and scheduled date should be written in the lease. If no agreement on date between the landlord and tenant is assumed then rent is set to be paid at the beginning of every month. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-201)
  • Prorated Rent: If agreed upon, the rent shall be apportionable from a day to day basis, meaning if a tenant were to leave during any part of the month, the rent for that month would be directly proportional to the number of days. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-201(c))
  • Late Fees: There is a 5 day grace period from the day the rent was due. If the last day of the grace period falls on a Sunday, or during a legal holiday (Tenn. Code Ann. § 15-1-101) the landlord may not impose any charge or fee provided that the payment is made during the next business day.
  • Late Fees Maximum: The fee imposed on the tenant following the 5 day grace period cannot exceed 10% of the rent past due.

Notices and Entry

  • Week-to-week tenancy: Landlords or tenants may terminate a week-to-week tenancy by a written notice at least 10 days prior to the termination date specified. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-512)
  • Month-to-month tenancy: Landlords or tenants may terminate a month-to-month tenancy by a written notice at least 30 days prior to the termination date specified. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-512)
    • If the tenant remains in possession following the termination or expiration of an agreement the landlord may bring action forth for possession, back rent, reasonable attorney’s fees and any other damages provided for in the lease.
    • Tenants may recover damages, obtain court orders to refrain landlords from specific acts through injunctive reliefs, and obtain reasonable attorneys fees for any non-compliance by the landlord within the rental agreement upon giving a 14 day notice. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-501)
    • Tenants may not withhold consent to landlords to enter the premise in order to make necessary repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements. Or to showcase the property to potential or actual purchasers, mortgagees, workers or contractors. (§ 68-111-104)

Disclosures

  • Landlords must disclose any known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide an information pamphlet pertaining to lead based hazards attached to the lease.
  • Written leases have to be made for leases lasting three years or more. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-7-101)
  • Landlords may not retaliate by increasing rent or decreasing services or by threatening action if the tenant has made complaints to government agencies or exercised any of their legal rights. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-514)
    • Landlords may enter the premises without consent of the tenant in the case of an emergency demanding immediate action.
    • Landlords may only use their right of access through court orders, if the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises or within the final 30 days of the rental agreement to showcase the property granted a 24 hour notice prior to entry. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-403(e)(5))
    • If tenants fail to maintain their dwelling, which subsequently affects their health and safety Landlords can enter the premise 14 days following their notice in order to carry out the appropriate work to be done. An itemized bill for the actual and reasonable cost or value of the work will be due during the next periodic rent. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-506)
    • If the tenant is absent in excess of 7 days, the landlord may enter the dwelling unit when reasonably necessary. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-507)

Eviction Laws

Tennessee-Eviction-Laws
  • In order to evict a tenant the landlord must provide notice, these notice requirements vary dependending on the size of the county in which the property is located in.
    • Tennessee’s residential landlord and tenant act is applicable to the following counties; Anderson, Blount, Bradley, Davidson, Hamilton, Madison, Montgomery, Shelby, Sumner and Knox.
    • Tenants have fourteen days to remedy the condition prompting the eviction by either paying rent, or correcting the behavior which has caused the eviction notice. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-505 (3))
    • If within six months of receiving the notice and correcting the condition the same act is repeated, landlords only have to supply tenants with a seven day notice for eviction or correction. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-505 (b))
  • All other counties are regulated by Tennessee code tenants have fourteen days to remedy any conditions prompting the eviction notice.
  • Any other lease violations can result in a thirty day eviction notice for the tenant.

For more information on Tennesse Landlord Tenant laws please visit their website here.