Tenant Rights In Tennessee

tenant rights book
evicting a tenant

If you own a rental property in Tennessee, you’re eventually going to need to know what to do when it comes to evicting a tenant. You might want to avoid evicting a renter as much as possible, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to go the whole time without coming across a tenant who triggers the eviction process in some way. Not every eviction is the same and follows the same process, so it’s important to know the difference between each one, as proceeding incorrectly can get you in trouble with the state and make it much harder to get an unruly tenant removed from your property. 

Of course, if the idea of dealing with evictions and problem tenants is too much for you, you can always sell your rental property to a cash buyer like Fair Cash Deal. We understand that not everyone wants to be a landlord or enjoys the process of being one, so we’re happy to help. We will buy your house or building as-is and we will pay you cash for it. And then we’ll deal with any bad tenants, hoarders, or eviction situations. 

But if you want to be a mindful landlord who understands the way the law protects you and your tenants, let’s take a closer look at tenant’s rights when evicting a tenant in Tennessee. 

Legal Reasons for Evicting A Tenant

When a landlord and tenant enter into an agreement for a rental unit, both sides agree to abide by certain rules and state laws that govern the relationship. The landlord needs to provide a livable rental unit and property and the tenant has to promise to maintain the integrity of the unit and make monthly rental payments for the right to live there. When either side doesn’t live up to their side of the bargain, things can get messy. 

For better or worse, a landlord can’t decide to evict a tenant just because they don’t like them. The lease protects the tenant from any kind of unfair eviction process. However, there are certain legal reasons for evicting a tenant that both parties need to be aware of. 

Perhaps the most obvious legal reason for eviction is the nonpayment of rent. Once rent is past due, a landlord must serve the tenant with a notice to satisfy the outstanding rent as well as any late fees. If they do not in a timely manner, then there are legal grounds for eviction. 

Another legal reason for eviction is a violation of the terms of the lease. Tenants must uphold their responsibilities under the terms of a written lease or rental agreement and any violation of that agreement can trigger this process. These kinds of violations often include rental property damage, letting too many people live in the rental unit without permission, taking in a pet without informing the landlord, or falsely claiming that an animal is a service animal when it actually is not. 

In Tennessee, if a tenant remains in a rental unit after the lease has expired, the landlord needs to give them notice to vacate. This remains true if the lease with week-to-week or month-to-month. If the tenant refuses the leave following that notice, then an eviction process can begin. 

Another legal reason for eviction would be over some kind of safety violation that could harm the health of the renter and other residents on the property. It also applies if they violate building or housing codes. These kinds of violations can include letting trash build outside the unit to an unsafe degree, allowing rodents or insects to roam freely, or even damaging electrical wires in the unit. 

Finally, a tenant can have the eviction process started legally against them if they engage in illegal activity as defined by the state of Tennessee. These kinds of violations include the intentional commission of a violent act against others, endangering the health or safety of others, or threats against others or the property. 

House Eviction Laws in Tennessee

It’s very important for landlords to know that even if a tenant has violated the lease agreement in one of the aforementioned ways, they still must proceed through legal channels in order to evict them. Tennessee has very specific laws in place to protect both sides and ensure that evictions happen in a legal and fair manner. 

One of the most important pieces of the eviction process in Tennessee is the eviction notice. There are different types of eviction notices that a landlord can provide to a tenant in violation of lease terms, but it’s critical that the appropriate notice is provided to begin the process of informing tenants that they must satisfy outstanding issues to avoid eviction. 

A pay rent or quit notice is what a landlord will send to a tenant whenever there is nonpayment of rent. These kinds of notices give the tenant a period of time, depending on the situation and state law, in which they must satisfy the outstanding debt and payments or face eviction. 

A cure or quit notice is sent to a renter via mail when they have violated the terms of the lease. These notices also provide the tenant with a window of time in which they can fix the problem and avoid further action. But if they do not, they can face eviction proceedings. 

An unconditional quit notice can be sent by a landlord to a tenant who has shown an ongoing pattern of not paying rent, has damaged the rental property in a serious manner or has engaged in illegal activity inside the rental unit or on the rental property. This kind of notice does not allow for the tenant to make good on any outstanding issue but instead requires them to vacate the premises within a specific period of time. If they do not, an eviction process can begin to remove them. 

eviction notice starting the eviction process

The Eviction Process

We’ve discussed some of the specific reasons that a landlord might serve a notice asking the tenant to make some kind of change or satisfaction to the outstanding terms of the loan. And if they don’t do that, they could face eviction. So let’s take a bit more about what happens if the tenant does not fix the issue and the landlord needs to proceed with eviction in Tennessee. 

If the landlord has provided the tenant with one of the aforementioned notices to fix an issue and the tenant has ignored it or refused to do anything about it in the time required, the landlord can now file a complaint to the appropriate court in their Tennessee county. There is a filing cost that comes with these complaints, often in the $100-$200 amount in terms of fees. The complaint and a summons are then served to the tenant by either the landlord, sheriff, or a private process server who is unassociated with the tenant. Not only must the tenant be served with the complaint but it must also be posted in a conspicuous place on the rental unit at least six days prior to the hearing, and it must be mailed via certified mail to the tenant. 

At this point, a hearing has been scheduled and both the landlord and tenant are asked to appear. If the tenant does not show up for the hearing, a judicial officer may issue a default judgment to the landlord, which means the tenant will be evicted and must move out. If that’s the case, a writ of possession will be issued. The tenant does have the right to appeal this decision, which means this will require more time and costs. 

The writ of possession acts as the final notice that a tenant receives informing them to leave the rental property. It also gives them the chance to remove their belongings and items before law enforcement arrives. At that point, if the tenant has not left, the law enforcement official has the right to remove them from the property. If the tenant has filed an appeal, that must be heard and ruled on before they are forced to leave. 

At that point, the tenant has been removed and the landlord has ownership of the rental property and can do with it what they like. You can rent it back out to a new tenant. But if you’d rather not deal with the headaches anymore, you can also sell the rental property as-is to a cash buyer like Fair Cash Deal. We buy rental properties and houses as-is and we pay cash for them. Let us deal with problem tenants and evictions so you don’t have to anymore!

Just contact Fair Cash Deal today and let us know what kind of property you have and what the situation is. We’ll make you a fair offer you are under no obligation to accept. If you do like it, we can close the sale on your schedule. Then, no more tenant issues, no more worrying about rent payments, and no more stressing about potential evictions. And you’ll get to walk away with cash in your pocket. 

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