Tennessee Eviction Laws and Eviction Process

A reference of Tennessee Eviction Laws, and steps of the Tennessee eviction process for landlords and renters, updated 2021.

  • What notice do Tennessee eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
    • For evictions based on non-payment of rent, the landlord must provide a 14-day notice. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-505). 
    • For evictions based on a real and present danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the life or property of other tenants or people on the premises or a hazardous or unsanitary condition created on the property, the landlord must provide a 3-days’ notice. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-517).
    • For evictions based on a tenant using the property for prostitution or drug violations, the landlord can immediately evict the tenant. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-7-107)
    • For evictions based on acts of violence or other illegal activity, the landlord must provide a 3-day notice. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-517). 
    • For evictions based on non-compliance with the lease agreement, the landlord must provide a 14-day or 30-day notice to the tenant, depending on the nature of the violation. The notice must state the nature of the breach and what the tenant must do to correct it to avoid eviction. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-7-109(b))
    • For evictions based on remaining in possession of the rental unit beyond the period of the lease without the owner’s permission, the landlord must provide a notice of 10-days for a week-to-week tenancy. For a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord must provide a 30-day notice. If the tenant remains in possession of the rental unit beyond the agreed-upon term not in good faith, the landlord can take legal action against the tenant and recover reasonable attorney’s fees, back rent, and any other damages provided for in the lease. If the holdover is willful and not in good faith, the landlord can also recover actual damages, plus reasonable attorney’s fees. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-512)
  • Do Tennessee eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities? 
    • No. Tennessee law prohibits self-help measures. If the landlord unlawfully removes or excludes the tenant from the property or interrupts essential services to the rental property, the tenant can recover actual and punitive and their entire security deposit. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-504).

Tennessee Eviction Process: Step-by-Step

The eviction process in Tennessee involves the following five steps:

  1. The landlord serves the eviction notice. The landlord must give the appropriate eviction notice to the tenant that notifies the tenant that they are being evicted and gives them a deadline to cure, if applicable. The landlord must wait for the time specified in the notice to lapse before taking further action. 
  2. The landlord takes legal action. If the tenant does not respond, the landlord files a Detainer Summons with their local General Sessions Court. The court sets a hearing date. 
  3. Serve the Detainer Warrant. The landlord must have the local sheriff serve the Detainer Warrant. 
  4. Parties attend the hearing. The parties attend the hearing. If the tenant fails to show up or the court rules in the landlord’s favor, The landlord requests a Writ of Possession, which gives the landlord the legal authority to reclaim possession of the property and the sheriff to forcibly remove the tenant from the property.
  5. The sheriff serves the Writ of Possession. The landlord serves the Writ of Possession on the tenant and removes the tenant from the property. The landlord reclaims the property.

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