Landlords are put in a real financial bind when tenants do not pay rent. If rent arrears accrue, landlords may have no choice but to pursue an eviction for nonpayment of rent.
Still, you cannot simply change the locks and toss the tenant’s things out onto the street. These forms of self-help eviction are against the law. In Tennessee, you must provide tenants with appropriate notice before eviction.
Tennessee notice requirements
As a landlord, if you want to pursue an eviction for nonpayment of rent in Tennessee, you must provide the tenant with 14 days’ notice that you intend to evict them.
You also must give the tenant the chance to pay all of what they owe in overdue rent. If the tenant can do this within the date on the notice, you cannot pursue an eviction. The tenant also needs to be given the option to move out on their own within the time stated in the notice.
Even if the tenant makes good on all rent they owe, if within the next six months your tenant fails to pay rent again, you can provide a 14 days’ notice that the lease will terminate on a specific date due to the breach.
Do not engage in self-help eviction
Again, while it is frustrating to have tenants who do not pay rent, you cannot just kick them out without providing the required notice. This means you cannot change the locks, throw their possessions on the street or cut the utilities as a means of forcing them out. If you do that, the tenant can pursue damages against you.
So, it is essential that if you need to pursue an eviction that you provide your tenant with the necessary notice of intent to evict and give them a change to cure their rental arrears. This way, if the tenant does not pay what they owe or move out on their own, you can legally move forward with the eviction process.