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Landlord and Tenant rights are controlled under the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act.


What should you know when leasing a property?

Are you currently leasing your personal residence? Are you a landlord with residential tenants or considering leasing residential rental property? If so, here are some tips in landlord/tenant law as it applies in Tennessee.

In Tennessee, counties with populations exceeding 75,000 people such as Davidson, Hamilton, Shelby, Knox, Sumner, Wilson, Rutherford, Williamson, and Montgomery are subject to this Act for residential leases. Here are some helpful tips for you to consider!

Terms and Conditions:

The lease is to be determined by the reasonable value for the use and occupancy of the dwelling unit. Unless otherwise stipulated, rent is to be paid in monthly installments and a there is a five (5) day grace period from when the rent is due until the date a late fee can be assessed. Late fees cannot exceed 10% of the total monthly lease amount. T.C.A 66-28-201

Security Deposits:

The landlord tenant act is a set of laws made to protect both parties

Landlords who require a security deposit must hold such deposits in a separate bank account, preferably an “escrow account,” whose purpose is solely for managing such accounts. Prior to the termination of the lease, landlord may provide notice to the tenant for tenant to be present at the home inspection to assess the property for damages. If the parties stipulate that certain damages exist, then both must sign a written agreement stating the ascertainable damages and reasonable estimated cost to repair. If tenant contest, then tenant can bring a cause of action to recover the security deposit in a general sessions or the circuit court of competent jurisdiction. Landlord must return the remainder amount of proceeds back to tenant, once damages have been repaired. Tenant is limited to recover only to what was dissented during the inspection. Landlord can assess the security deposit towards any unpaid rent.  (T.C.A § 66-28-301)

Landlord Obligations:  

Under the law, landlords are expected to abide by certain obligations for their tenants:

  1. Comply with requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
  2. Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition.
  3. Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition.
  4. 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 of collection subject to § 66-28-401(3). (T.C.A § 66-28-304)

Tenant Obligations:

Tenants are also subject to standard obligations under the law:

  1. Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
  2. 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.
  3. Dispose from the tenant’s dwelling unit all ashes, rubbish, garbage, and other waste to the designated collection areas and into receptacles.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. (T.C.A. § 66-28-401)

Remember, parties to a contract are free to determine the terms and conditions to the agreement. However, there are certain provisions, under the law that mandates its inclusion. Failure to pay rent is automatic grounds for eviction, however, self-help eviction is prohibited. For a more in depth review of this law visit, https://www.tn.gov/lawsandpolicies or  T. C. A. § 66-28-101:

Landlord and tenant agreements can get confusing.  We are equally comfortable representing landlords and tenants and can help with the negotiating of both residential and commercial leases. Our Batson Nolan real estate attorneys represent clients in all facets of real estate litigation, including residential and commercial landlord tenant issues, title disputes, boundary disputes and partition suits. If you need more information regarding the right of either landlords or tenants, please contact one of our experienced Batson Nolan real estate attorneys today.