Tennessee Security Deposit Laws

In Tennessee, there is no limit to what landlords can charge for a security deposit, but they must return it within 30 days of you moving out.
Written by Bee Davis
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
According to state law, there is no limit to the amount
landlords are allowed to charge for a deposit. Landlords are required to return your deposit within 30 days of you moving out. You also have the right to inspect the property yourself to assess what damages you’re liable for within five days of requesting after you move out. 
Security deposits! Everyone loves them. Just kidding, they’re one of the most annoying parts of renting, not only as an upfront expense but one you’re responsible for earning back throughout your tenancy. 
Since security deposit laws are different in every state, it can be hard to parse your responsibility. That’s why super insurance app
is here to help! We’ve compiled information on security deposit law in Tennessee so you can rent smart and get your deposit back. 
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What is Tennessee law on security deposits?

Upon signing your lease and collecting your deposit, your landlord is required to place it in a separate account specifically for that purpose. This is to ensure there is a record of security deposits and that they are regulated by an institution.
You can view specifics of the Tennessee security deposit statute

What is the maximum security deposit a landlord can charge in Tennessee? 

According to Tennessee law, there is no limit to the amount landlords can charge for security deposits. Generally, Tennessee landlords tend to stay within one to two months' rent when charging for a deposit. 

How long does a landlord have to return a security deposit in Tennessee? 

Tennessee law requires landlords to return your deposit within 30 days of terminating your lease. Your landlord will send a notification with your deposit to the last known address they have for you. If you receive less than your full deposit back, your landlord is legally obligated to send you an itemized list of deductions along with the rest of your deposit within 30 days. 

What can a landlord withhold a security deposit for in Tennessee?

Security deposits are made to reimburse the owner for any damages done to the property throughout your tenancy. Upon termination of your lease, your landlord has a right to deduct damages from your deposit.
  • Any unpaid rent or utility charges you’ve left after terminating your lease.
  • Any damages to the property, such as holes in the wall, pet stains, etc. Security deposits are not meant to cover the general wear and tear of maintaining a property (replacing appliances, refurbishing floors, etc.). 
  • Cleaning fees for restoring the property after you hand over your keys. 
Remember: it is illegal if a landlord doesn’t provide an itemized list of deductions when withholding part or all of your security deposit. If you receive less than your full deposit and don’t see the above charges detailed to you, you may have grounds to get help from the law
Key Takeaway Tennessee landlords can deduct from your deposit any unpaid rent or utilities, the cost of any damages, and cleaning fees to restore your rental. 

How to get your security deposit back in Tennessee

As a renter in Tennessee, you have a unique opportunity to be present for the inspection of the property. Upon termination of your lease, you can request an inspection alongside your landlord to make sure they’re charging you fairly. This inspection should take place either the day you move out or within five days of you leaving the property. 
Once you’ve inspected the property with your landlord, they will present a list of charges in writing for you to sign. The idea is that you’ve walked through the property and assessed what should be deducted together. This prevents your landlord from surprising you with charges, and it also allows you to defend yourself or dispute the charges in person before you have to communicate remotely. 
If you decide not to sign, i.e. disagree with the charges your landlord lays out for you during the inspection, you’ll have to explain in writing which charges you’re disputing and why. 
Whew! That’s a lot of information, but it’s good to be aware of your rights as a tenant when signing a lease. Not all states give renters the explicit right to inspect the property with their landlord, so be aware of your rights when the time comes to move out. 

How to save money on car and renters insurance in Tennessee

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Yes, your landlord may deduct any unpaid rent from your deposit upon termination of your lease. You can go over that with them in person if you choose to attend the property inspection.
Yes! A carpet cleaning charge can be a part of a comprehensive cleaning fee deducted from your deposit. Look for carpet cleaning services on your itemized list of deductions if you’re curious.
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