Tennessee Landlord Tenant Laws
January 17, 2023
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|Required Disclosures |
Security deposit location
Rent and Fees
Application Fees: Permitted
Rent Control: N/A
Late Fee Limit: 10% of amount due
Grace Period Minimum: 5 days
Amount Limit: N/A
Return Within: 30 days
Permitted Times of Entry: N/A
|Fair Housing Protections |
Rent Demand Notice: 14-day pay-or-quit notice
Notice for Lease Violation: 14-day quit notice
Unconditional Notice to Quit: 3-day quit notice
Tennessee Landlord-Tenant Law
Landlords in all 50 states must include information about lead-based paint hazards in the rental agreements for most properties built before 1978. Sellers and landlords must distribute an EPA-approved information pamphlet called “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” and disclose any known lead hazards in the property. These obligations were established by Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.
Landlords in Tennessee must disclose in writing the name and address of the owner and any agents authorized to manage the premises.
Security Deposit Location
Landlords must notify all residential tenants of the location of the security deposit. However, landlords are not required to provide the bank account number.
Landlords must disclose in the lease agreement their right to enter the unit within the final 30 days of the rental agreement for the purpose of showing the unit to prospective tenants. If the landlord does not make this disclosure or does not give at least 24 hours’ notice before entering, they may not enter.
Rent and Fees
- Rent Due Date: Rent in Tennessee is due on the first of the month, unless the lease agreement says otherwise (TN Code § 66-28-201(c)).
- Application Fees: Rental application fees are not regulated in Tennessee.
- Rent Increases: There is no statewide rent control in Tennessee. There are also no laws dictating whether landlords must provide advanced notice of rent increases. However, it is illegal to raise rent in retaliation against a tenant for submitting a complaint or using legal remedies (TN Code § 66-28-514).
- Late Fees: Late fees in Tennessee may not exceed 10% of the amount of rent past due (TN Code § 66-28-201(d)).
- Grace Period: 5 days (TN Code § 66-28-201(d)).
- NSF/Bounced Check Fee Maximum: If the tenant’s rent check bounces, the landlord may charge a fee of up to $30 (TN Code § 47-29-102).
- Withholding Rent/Repair and Deduct: If the landlord fails to supply essential services (gas, heat, electricity, etc.), the tenant may send the landlord a notice specifying the breach. The tenant also has three options: they may arrange for services during the noncompliance and deduct the cost from rent, they may recover damages based on the fair rental value of the unit, or they may find reasonable substitute housing and be excused from paying rent during the noncompliance. These remedies do not apply if the condition was caused by the tenant (TN Code § 6-28-502).
- Deposit Limit: There is no limit on security deposit amounts in Tennessee.
- Interest: Tennessee has no statute about paying interest on security deposits.
- Return Within: 30 days, or seven days after a new tenant takes possession of the premises (TN Code § 66-28-301(g1)). If the tenant does not attend the move-out inspection, the landlord may compile a comprehensive list of damages that will be deducted from the security deposit, provided that they mail a written copy to the tenant (TN Code § 66-28-301(b)(2)(A)).
- Deposit Location: Landlords in Tennessee must keep security deposits in a separate bank account or other lending institution (TN Code § 66-28-301(a)).
Tenant Screening and Fair Housing Protections
- Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability (Title 24 USC § 3601-3607). Tennessee state law reaffirms these protections (TN Code § 4-21-601).
- Tennessee landlords are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (15 USC § 1681), which outlines the responsibilities of landlords to protect tenant credit information. According to the Act, landlords may not share tenant credit information with anyone without a legal reason to view it. They must also investigate disputed information, dispose of credit reports after use in tenant screening, and notify applicants when their credit score or history was the reason for their denial.
- Criminal background checks may be used during tenant screening in Tennessee.
- Landlords should follow HUD recommendations for using Tennessee background checks fairly. This includes avoiding blanket policies for denying applicants with criminal convictions, assessing applicants and their criminal histories on a case-by-case basis, and only denying an applicant when they demonstrate a risk to the safety of other residents or the property.
- Advanced Notice: There is no state law in Tennessee requiring landlords to give advance notice before entering. However, if the entry is within the final 30 days of the tenancy and is to show the unit to prospective tenants, the landlord must give at least 24 hours’ notice (TN Code § 66-28-403(e(5))).
- Permitted Times: Tennessee state law does not designate any time-of-day restrictions for entering. Landlords may enter with consent for inspections, repairs, decorations, alterations, improvements, supplying services, or showings. Landlords may enter without consent by court order, after abandonment, or if the tenant is deceased, incapacitated, or incarcerated (TN Code § 66-28-403).
- Emergency Entry: In case of an emergency, landlords in Tennessee may enter without consent or advanced notice (TN Code § 66-28-403(b)).
- Rent Demand Notice: 14 days to pay or quit (TN Code § 66-7-109(a)(1)).
- Notice for Lease Violation: 14 days to quit. This notice applies, for example, when the tenant causes damage beyond normal wear and tear. According to eviction laws in Tennessee, if the tenant remedies the breach, the rental agreement will not terminate (TN Code § 66-7-109(a)(1)).
- Unconditional Notice to Quit: 3 days to quit. This notice applies when a tenant commits a violent act, engages in drug-related criminal activity, or threatens the health, safety, or welfare of other tenants or the landlord (TN Code § 66-7-109(d)).
Other Laws and Facts About Tennessee
- The median rent rate in Tennessee is $1,860.
- The median rent rate in Nashville is $2,200.
- A noncompliant vehicle kept on the premises of a property in Tennessee is grounds for lease violation consequences. A landlord may tow a noncompliant vehicle on the premises after giving 10 days’ notice. For instance, vehicles with flat tires, dead batteries, broken glass, or missing fenders or parts may be towed (TN Code § 66-28-519).