What You Need To Know About Eviction in Tennessee

From Nashville to Knoxville, all Tennessee tenants should know the laws governing eviction in their county.
Written by Katherine Duffy
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Whether you live in a county governed by the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA) or the Tennessee Code, your landlord must provide written notice before filing an eviction in
in almost every circumstance. 
With the cost of living and the housing market on a near-constant rise, it’s no wonder that more tenants in Tennessee are worried about eviction than ever before. With no apparent end in sight for inflation, it’s important for all Tennessee tenants to understand their rights when it comes to eviction. 
That’s why
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Tennessee eviction 101: three ways you can be evicted 

Eviction in Tennessee is governed by two pieces of legislature: The Tennessee Code andthe Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA). Counties with more than 75,000 residents must adhere to the laws laid out by URLTA, while all other communities must adhere to the Tennessee Code. 
Here are the counties whose eviction laws are currently governed by URLTA: 
  • Anderson
  • Blount
  • Bradley
  • Davidson
  • Greene
  • Hamilton
  • Knox
  • Madison
  • Maury
  • Montgomery
  • Putnam
  • Rutherford
  • Sevier 
  • Shelby
  • Sullivan
  • Sumner
  • Washington
  • Williamson
  • Wilson
While these two sets of regulations vary slightly, landlords can evict tenants for the same reasons under both. Here are the reasons you could get evicted in Tennessee: 
  • Failure to pay rent (5 days after due date): If you fail to pay rent five days after it’s due, Tennessee Code landlords must provide you with 14 days' notice before filing for eviction. URLTA landlords must provide 14 days' notice unless there is a clause about waiving this right for payment-related evictions. 
  • Violation of lease: If you violate your lease agreement twice within six months, Tennessee Code landlords must provide you with 14 days’ notice before filing for eviction. Landlords in URLTA counties are only required to provide 7 days. If the violation can’t be remedied,Tennessee Code landlords must provide 30 days’ notice, and URLTA landlords must provide 14. 
  • Health and safety violations & illegal activities: If you are posing health and safety concerns to other tenants and their property or performing or allowing illegal activities in your unit, landlords must provide you with three days’ notice before filing for eviction. This applies to all counties. 
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Your landlord can also choose not to renew your lease agreement when your term is up. In this case, you may be evicted if your lease period ends and you don’t move out.If you rent month-to-month, your landlord must provide you with 30 days’ notice to quit, and if you rent week-to-week, your landlord must provide you with 10 days’ notice. 
No matter the reason for your eviction, your landlord has a legal right to file for eviction if you don’t resolve the situation or vacate the property after the appropriate notice period is up. 
If the landlord wins the case, the county sheriff will be called to physically remove you from the premises. It’s illegal for landlords to force eviction in any way. 
Key Takeaway Landlords can legally file for eviction if they provide the appropriate notice corresponding with the reason for eviction. Even if they win the lawsuit, your landlord cannot forcibly remove you from the property—that’s the sheriff’s job.

A timeline of eviction in Tennessee

You’re entitled to a certain period of notice depending on why your landlord is going to evict you, but the eviction lawsuit itself can vary in length.
If you’re facing eviction in Tennessee, here’s the timeline you can expect:
How long it typically takes
What to expect
Written notice from landlord
3-30 days
You’ll receive notice from your landlord informing you of their intent to evict you. If you can, rectify the issue with your landlord in the appropriate notice period.
Detainer warrant
After the notice period is up
If you’re still on the property after your notice period is up and the issue has not been resolved, your landlord will request a Detainer Warrant. The warrant will tell you when your court date is.
Eviction hearing
When court is next available
The court will rule on the case based on the landlord’s case and any information you bring to court.
Appeal period
Up to 10 days after court hearing
You have 10 days to file for an appeal after the court decision.
Writ of Possession
Once the appeal period is up
If your landlord wins in court and you don’t file an appeal after the 10-day window, your landlord can file a Writ of Possession. A sheriff will come to physically remove you from the premises.
Eviction can take a long time depending on court availability and how quickly your landlord begins the filing process. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these steps so you understand the process and time you’re entitled to.
MORE: Does renters insurance cover mold?

How to resist eviction in Tennessee 

If you’re facing eviction in Tennessee, you aren’t powerless. You have certain rights as a tenant. If you’ve received notice that you’re going to be evicted, here are the steps you can take: 
  • Remedy the issue cited: If you can borrow money to pay rent, hire a handyman to repair damages, or give your prohibited pet to a trusted family member until your lease is up, do so. Fixing the issue that violates your lease terms will stop the eviction process in its tracks.
  • Document any legal mistakes your landlord makes: Did your landlord give you the incorrect amount of notice or no notice at all? Did they shut off utilities, padlock the door, or make it harder for you to live in your unit? All of these actions are illegal—and your case may be thrown out if you show evidence in court that your landlord made these mistakes.
  • Point out if your landlord doesn’t maintain your unit properly: If your landlord is evicting you for unit damage that they’ve caused or you’ve made a maintenance request that has gone unanswered, you may be able to avoid eviction. 
  • Call out discrimination, if appropriate: If you believe your eviction is on the basis of your race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or other identity markers, document your evidence and bring it to court. Your case may be dismissed—and you may be entitled to damages. 

How to save money on Tennessee car and renters insurance 

As the cost of living continues to increase, more tenants than ever are facing possible eviction due to unpaid rent. It can be tough to pay rent every month when everything from gasoline to a dozen eggs have seemingly doubled in cost. 
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