What is the process for evicting tenants in Tennessee?

When tenants sign a lease for a rental unit or property, they are agreeing to the terms of the lease. This means they need to abide by the rules as stated in the lease. If they break the rules, usually it gives the landlord the right to evict the tenant. However, they cannot simply tell the tenant to leave or change the locks to the rental unit. They need to go through the eviction process first.

Notice requirements

If a tenant has violated a term of the lease such as non-payment of rent or other violations that can be remedied fairly easily, the first step is the landlord needs to give the tenant at least 14 days notice before the start the eviction process for many violations.  However, the 14-day notice requirement can be waived in lease agreements for non-payment of rent only in the counties around Nashville. Also, if it is a second violation within six months for violations other than non-payment of rent landlords only need to give seven days notice prior to eviction.

Removal process

If the violation cannot be remedied or is not remedied after 14 days, the landlord then needs to notify the tenant they have 16 days to move out. This means the tenant would have 30 days total from the time of the first notice.

If the tenant does not move out by the 16th day, the landlord can request a detainer warrant from the court. The detainer warrant will be delivered to the tenant by the sheriff and will give them the date and time of a court appearance. After the court hearing if the judge rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant then has 10 days to vacate the rental property. If they do not move out after 10 days, then the sheriff can forcibly remove the tenant from the rental property.

The eviction process in Tennessee is much more complex than landlords may realize. However, it is important that they complete the process correctly to ensure the tenant is actually evicted when they violate terms of the lease.


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