What are the minimal standards for a rental home?

Under Tennessee law, your landlord can only rent you a home that is safe habitable, and he or she must keep your home in that condition. However, the law also sets minimum standards for what a home must include for it to be suitable for someone to legally rent out.

According to the Tennessee Code Annotated, there are many standards a rental unit must meet in order for your landlord to rent it out, but there are some basic concepts that you should always check into before you sign a lease.

Heating and ventilation

A rental must have a heating unit that provides heat to all rooms. It also must have at least one window that opens per four percent of your square footage or your landlord must provide some other type of ventilation.

Kitchen space

The unit must have a kitchen area with running water and a sink with proper drainage. Your landlord does not have to provide a refrigerator and stove but must provide the proper hookups for them.


Your rental unit must also have a bathroom with a bathtub or shower, toilet and sink that all have running water and proper drainage. Your landlord may require sharing of the bathroom for units that are no larger than 400 square feet each and as long as there is privacy when in use and access from each unit separately.


You must have a minimum of two wall outlets or one ceiling fixture to provide lighting and one wall outlet per room. The bathroom must have one light fixture.

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