State Laws

Tennessee Landlord Tenant Laws

January 17, 2023

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Quick Facts

Required Disclosures   

Lead-based paint  
Landlord/agent ID 
Security deposit location 
Showings 
  
Rent and Fees   

Application Fees: Permitted 
Rent Control: N/A 
Late Fee Limit: 10% of amount due 
Grace Period Minimum: 5 days 
   
Security Deposits   

Amount Limit: N/A 
Interest: N/A 
Return Within: 30 days 
 
Entry   

Notice: N/A 
Permitted Times of Entry: N/A 
Fair Housing Protections   

Race  
Color   
National origin   
Religion   
Sex   
Familial status   
Disability   
   
Eviction Notices   

Rent Demand Notice: 14-day pay-or-quit notice 
Notice for Lease Violation: 14- or 30-day quit notice 
Unconditional Notice to Quit: 3-day quit notice 

Tennessee Landlord-Tenant Law 

Understand the essential landlord tenant laws in Tennessee before enforcing your own rental policies. Find more information in the Tennessee state law code.  

Required Disclosures 

Lead-based paint  

(Title X, Section 1018

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. 

Landlord/Agent Identification 

(TN Code § 66-28-302

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 

(TN Code § 66-28-301(h)

Landlords must notify all residential tenants of the location of the security deposit. However, landlords are not required to provide the bank account number. 

Showings 

(TN Code § 66-28-403(e)(5)

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). 

Security Deposits 

  • 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 

Protected Classes 

  • Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability (Title 24 USC § 3601-3607). Tennessee state law reaffirms these protections (TN Code § 4-21-601). 

Credit Reports 

  • 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 Histories 

  • 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.  

Entry 

  • 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)).  

Eviction Notices 

Evictions are complex legal processes often poorly understood by both parties. Before pursuing eviction in Tennessee, consider hiring an experienced real estate attorney and be sure to review the Tennessee eviction process in more detail.

In Tennessee, eviction notices vary depending on the county in which the property is located. Larger counties (population ≥ 75,000) are regulated by the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act (URLTA), while smaller counties (population < 75,000) are governed by the Tennessee Code.

URLTA Eviction Notices:

  • Notice for Lease Violation: 14 days to quit. The landlord may choose to offer the tenant an opportunity to cure the breach, but if the violation is not remediable by repairs or payment of damages, the landlord is not required to provide a cure remedy (URLTA, § 66-28-505(a)(1-2)). 
  • Notice for Repeat Violation: 7 days to quit. If a tenant commits substantially the same noncompliance within six months, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement after giving 7 days’ written notice specifying the breach and lease end date. The landlord is not obligated to give the tenant a second chance to cure the breach (URLTA, § 66-28-505(a)(2)(B)). 
  • Unconditional Notice to Quit: 3 days to quit (URLTA, § 66-28-517(a-f)). Possible violations warranting this notice include: 
    • Willfully or intentionally committing a violent act 
    • Behaving in a way that threatens a real and present danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the life or property of others 
    • Creating a hazardous or unsanitary condition on the property that affects the health, safety, or welfare of others 
    • Refusing to vacate the premises after entering as an unauthorized subtenant or other unauthorized occupant. 

Tennessee Code Eviction Notices:

  • Rent Demand Notice: 14 days to pay or quit. The landlord is required to provide an opportunity to cure the breach by paying rent (TN Code § 66-7-109(a)). 
  • Notice for Damage Beyond Normal Wear and Tear: 14 days to cure or quit. If the damage is remediable by repairs or payment of damages, the landlord must give the tenant an opportunity to do so to avoid eviction (TN Code § 66-7-109(a)(1-2)). 
  • Unconditional Notice to Quit (Violence): 14 days to quit. If the tenant or tenant’s guest willfully or intentionally commits a violent act on the premises or creates/threatens a real and present danger to the health, safety, or welfare of others’ lives or property, the landlord may send this notice providing the tenant 14 days to vacate the unit. The landlord is not obligated to provide any opportunity to cure or fix the breach (TN Code § 66-7-109(a)(1)). 
  • Notice for Other Lease Violations: 30 days to quit. The landlord is not obligated to give the tenant an opportunity to correct the breach (TN Code § 66-7-109(b)). 
  • Notice for Repeat Violation: 14 days to quit. If a tenant commits substantially the same noncompliance within six months, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement after giving 14 days’ written notice specifying the breach and lease end date. The landlord is not obligated to give the tenant a second chance to cure the breach (TN Code § 66-7-109(a)(2)). 
  • Notice for Unauthorized Subtenant/Occupant: 3 days to quit. If a tenant allows a subtenant or other occupant to move in without the landlord’s permission, and that person refuses to vacate the premises, the landlord may send this notice providing three days to quit the unit (TN Code § 66-7-109(f)). 
  • Unconditional Notice to Quit: 3 days to quit (TN Code § 66-7-109(d)). The landlord may send a three-day unconditional eviction notice for severe noncompliance, including:
    • Committing a violent act 
    • Engaging in drug-related criminal activity 
    • Behaving in a manner that constitutes or threatens to be a real and present danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the life or property of others 

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). 

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