Tennessee Rental Laws

Written on April 13, 2014 by , updated on July 19, 2017

Flag of TennesseeThis article summarizes some key Tennessee Landlord-Tenant Laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the Tennessee State Bar. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposit:

Lease, Rent and Fees:

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No Statute. Typically no notice is needed as the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 30 days (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-512(b))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: 10 days (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-512(a))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy for Noncompliance by Landlord: 14 days (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-501)
  • Termination for Nonpayment: 14 days to remedy (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-7-109 and  § 66-28-505)
  • Termination for Lease Violation: 30 days (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-7-109 and § 66-28-505)
  • Termination for Drug-related Criminal Acts or Violent Behavior: 3 days (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-7-109(d))
  • Termination for Substance or Prostitution Violations: Immediate (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-7-107(a))
  • Required Notice before Entry: No statute, but 24 hours is recommended.
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-403(a))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes. Within the final thirty (30) days of the termination of the rental agreement, the landlord only needs to provide 24 hours notice if to show the property, but only if specified in the lease. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-403(e)(5))
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-403(b))
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Yes (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-507)
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: If a written rental agreement requires the tenant to have utility services placed in the tenant’s name and the tenant fails to do so within three (3) days of occupancy of the rented premises, the landlord may have such utility services terminated if the existing utility service is in the name of the landlord. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-521)
  • Notice of Vehicle Towing: A landlord may have a vehicle towed with 10 days notice, under the following circumstances: (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-519)
    • Flat Tire(s): One (1) or more flat or missing tires;
    • Dead: Unable to operate under its own power;
    • Broken Glass: Missing or broken windshield or more than one (1) broken or missing window;
    • Missing Fenders: One (1) or more missing fenders or bumpers; or
    • Noncompliance: Has not been in compliance with all applicable local or state laws relative to titling, licensing, operation, and registration for more than thirty (30) days.
  • Notice of Extended Absence: If specified in the rental agreement, the tenant must give notice to the landlord of any absence of 7 days or longer. If the tenant fails to do so, the tenant can be held responsible for any damages resulting from his/her absence. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-407)
  • Abandonment of Premises: Landlord can assume abandonment by the tenant if either: (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-405)
    • The tenant’s unexplained or extended absence from the premises for thirty (30) days or more without payment of rent as due shall be enough evidence of abandonment, or
    • The tenant’s nonpayment of rent for fifteen (15) days past the rental due date, together with other reasonable factual circumstances indicating the tenant has permanently vacated the premises.
  • Abandonment of Personal Property: (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-405)
    • 10 Days: The landlord must notify and give the tenant 10 days to claim the personal property.
    • Relocation of Belongings: If tenant fails to contact the landlord, the personal property can be removed from the premise, but stored for not less than 30 days.
    • Sale or Dispose of: After 30 days, the landlord may sell or otherwise dispose of the tenant’s possessions and personal effects and apply the proceeds of the sale to the unpaid rents, damages, storage fees, sale costs and attorney’s fees.

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Landlord Duties & Maintenance: (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-304)
    • Compliance: Comply with building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
    • Repairs: Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
    • Common Areas: Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition; and
    • Trash: In multi-unit complexes of four (4) or more units, provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste from common points.
    • Other: Other duties found at (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-304)
  • Tenant’s Duties: (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-401)
    • Compliance: Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
    • Cleanliness: Keep that part of the premises that the tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises when the tenant took possession;
    • Trash: Dispose from the tenant’s dwelling unit all ashes, rubbish, garbage, and other waste to the designated collection areas and into receptacles;
    • Lawful Activity: Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or permit any person to do so; and shall not engage in any illegal conduct on the premises; and
    • Quiet Enjoyment: Act and require other persons on the premises, with the tenant’s or other occupants’ consent, to act in a manner that will not disturb the neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
  • Name and Addresses: Before a lease begins, the owner must disclose the name and address of the landlord, property owner, and anyone authorized to manage the property or allowed to receive notice on the owner’s behalf. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-302)
  • Written Leases: Required for rental agreements more than 3 years in duration. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-7-104)
  • Fair Housing:
  • Notification by Email: If the tenant provides an email address in the rental agreement, any notification required to be sent to the tenant may be sent by email unless otherwise specified by other statutes. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-7-108)
  • House Rules and Regulations: A landlord has the right to create rules and regulations at any time, under certain circumstances. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-402)
  • Domestic Violence Situations: No Statute
  • Retaliation: A landlord must not terminate, refuse to renew a lease, or fine a tenant for complaining to the landlord regarding the deposit, complaining to a government agency, or exercising a legal right. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-51 and  § 66-11-105)
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

Court and Legal Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License: Each landlord of one (1) or more dwelling units is required to disclose the following information to the local government responsible for enforcing building codes in the jurisdiction where the dwelling units are located: (Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-107)
    • The landlord’s name, address and telephone number, or the name, address and telephone number of the landlord’s agent; and
    • The street address and unit number, as appropriate, for each dwelling unit that the landlord owns, leases, or subleases or has the right to own, lease, or sublease.
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478 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Mary Ganapol

    In the State of Tennessee when a tenant passes away with four months left on the 1-yr lease can you charge the estate for the balance of the lease… rent x 4 months?

  • Rebecca Tyra

    Is a landlord in Tennessee required to tell a renter that there was a suicide by the previous tenant in their rental unit?

  • Mary Smith

    Tenant’s lease expired at 12:01 AM this morning. They refuse to leave – were given certified letter six weeks ago detailing everything- police will do nothing- son ( current owner) went to courthouse this afternoon- paid fee but must wait-Tennessee can he do anything else?

  • Jodi

    Can you make a compliant about the property manager to anyone other than the landlord, in Hickman county Tn.

  • Aaron

    Owner of condo and want to bring in a roommate. Is there a different set of laws that apply?

  • Classy by nature

    My family and I have lived in our apartment for two years. My apartment manager gets a utility check each month to pay toward some families that are very low income. Who do I complain to if my electricity was shut off due to non payment?

  • Danielle Cooper

    I am having a plumbing issue in my home causing secondary damages due to a roof leak. I have communicated for several days in regards to repairs and no response. I have reached out to the BBB and also inquired about the property manager with no response. I have also paid my rent on time. What should be my next course of action in this matter due to declining the services that are needed?

  • Chrysten

    Tenant has been served eviction notice from landlord for drug usage on property and refuses to leave the premises. States that he is going to leave his property in the room that he is renting and is even going to set up a camera. Tenant hasn’t paid rent and their lease was up 7/31/17. Will the cops make him leave or do I have to file in the court for a hearing?

  • Charles

    I was renting a room from a hotel on a weekly basis, I broke my leg and behind on my rent because of being out of work. I have recently had to move and now the hotel is threatening to have a court order put against me for the rent and telling me I will have a warrant out for my arrest because it’s over a $1,000. Can I be arrested for this?

  • Timothy M Jones

    I signed a lease while out of town and when I returned asked to see the property again which is now full of mold and none of the windows shut properly. I was in the house 43 minutes and had a sever Asthma attack. I am scheduled to move in one month from next Friday. I have asked for Deposit back and to be let out of lease for heath reasons. They are refusing. Outside of filing complaints and calling the news, what else can I Do? That house could kill me.

  • Timothy M Jones

    I signed a lease while out of town and when I returned asked to see the property again which is now full of mold and none of the windows shut properly. I was in the house 43 minutes and had a sever Asthma attack. I am scheduled to move in one month from next Friday. I have asked for Deposit back and to be let out of lease for heath reasons. They are refusing. Outside of filing complaints and calling the news, what else can I Do? That house could kill me. Tennesse

  • Brian Hunter

    Are you required to give written notice if you contact your rental office and let them know you’ve purchased a home and you will be moving out when your rental agreement ends, even if you signed a new rental agreement but it hasn’t taken effect? Example I closed on my house on May 30th and contacted my rental office the same day to let the manager know I purchased a new home and I would be moving but my new lease doesn’t begin until June 1st. I initially advise my rental office in April upon signing the new lease but I had some delays with the closing which were no fault of mines but the builders the house was new construction and has some delays with it’s completion causing the closing date to be changed 3 times.

  • C. Johnson

    Curious to your thoughts on this. Can a landlord physically remove the doorknob to a tenants apt with the tenant present in TN? Now with that being said the landlord has worked with ALL of his tenants that is behind etc…. But with prior to moving in the apt we could not use our kitchen sink during the first couple of weeks of moving in around Feb. of this year and we yet have not been able to use some appliances nor has the apt been sprayed 1x month we do it. Basically the tenant can’t leave the apt alone because of the missing doorknob!!

  • C. Johnson

    Curious to your thoughts on this. Can a landlord physically remove the doorknob to a tenants apt with the tenant present in TN? Now with that being said the landlord has worked with ALL of his tenants that is behind etc…. But with prior to moving in the apt we could not use our kitchen sink during the first couple of weeks of moving in around Feb. of this year and we yet have not been able to use some appliances nor has the apt been sprayed 1x month we do it. Basically the tenant can’t leave the apt alone because of the missing piece!!

  • C. Johnson

    Curious to your thoughts on this. Can a landlord physically remove the doorknob to a tenants apt with the tenant present in TN? Now with that being said the landlord has worked with ALL of his tenants that is behind etc…. But with prior to moving in, we could not use the kitchen sink during the first couple of weeks and we yet have not been able to use some appliances. I feel the landlord has neglected a lot of his responsibilities.

  • M Kirby

    I moved out of a rental on July, 31 2017. Almost 2 months later, i still haven’t received my security deposit. I contacted the landlord twice, each time saying she was mailing it out. I also never received an itemized list of deductions. What is the next step I should take. Should I write a letter demanding my deposit back and threaten to take them to court if not received? Help!

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