Eviction Process in Tennessee
The eviction process in Tennessee depends on where the property is located. If the property is in the following counties it is summarized below. If the property is not in one of these counties then local law governs what the eviction process is and will be different than what you see below.
Shelby, Davidson, Knox, Hamilton, Sumner, Montgomery, Blount, Madison, Bradley, and Anderson Counties have eviction rules covered under the Tennessee Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant act (TN Title 66 Chapter 28)
The eviction notice you receive from your landlord is controlled by your state landlord tenant laws rather than your residential lease agreement. This is also true for the eviction process. While your rental agreement form states when your lease begins and ends, it doesn’t usually contain information about eviction notice processes. Rental laws derive from the landlord tenant rules (state statutes) Eviction procedures vary widely around the country, just like eviction rules. All the names at the bottom of the page are various names for eviction notices or lease ending notices. However, they are used to accomplish different purposes. For this reason, it is crucial to examine the notice you get from your landlord carefully. Ask yourself “What is it that the landlord is trying to accomplish with this notice? What is it that I am supposed to do?”
Eviction Process in Tennessee
Tennessee evictions begin with an eviction notice. In the counties above to evict a tenant for either lease violations or unpaid rent, the landlord gives the tenant a 30 day notice. This notice gives the tenant 14 days to cure the problem or states that the lease will terminate at the end of the 30 days. The landlord could also use a three-day notice to vacate if the tenant is creating serious damage to the property or harm to others. These are used for violations of health and safety or serious damage only. Some leases provide for no notice for unpaid rent. If that is contained in the lease the landlord can possibly go straight to court.
For properties that are not contained in one of the counties above, the landlord only needs to give a 14 day notice to evict for back rent, damages or health and safety violations. Lease violations other than those require a 30 day notice.
If the notice period ends and the problem has not been corrected and the tenant is still there, the landlord must file for eviction in the proper court, usually a general sessions court. The court must be located in the jurisdiction where the property is located. The landlord asks the court clerk for a detainer warrant. The clerk will issue the detainer warrant and have it delivered to the tenant by the sheriff. The detainer warrant will give the tenant the date and place and time of the eviction hearing.
The tenant should respond to the detainer warrant so that the landlord does not obtain a default judgment against them. In their response, the tenant can raise any counterclaim issues. At the hearing, each side gets to present their case for the judge’s consideration. Each side should bring with them copies of the lease, the notice, rent receipts, any written communication, and any paperwork or witnesses that will help prove their case to the judge. The landlord will present their case and can then be cross examined by the tenant. The tenant then presents their case and can be cross examined by the landlord.
The tenant can also present their counterclaims. The judge considers all the information and then renders a decision. If the tenant wins, they get to stay. If the tenant loses, the tenant will have 10 days to vacate the property the judge can also award the landlord any back rent and monetary damages. During the 10 day period, the tenant can appeal the judgment if they want. If the tenant appeals, there is another hearing in circuit court and the landlord must prove their case in order to get possession of the unit.
After the end of the 10 days, if the tenant is still in possession of the unit, the landlord must apply to the sheriff to have the tenant removed. The sheriff can physically eject the tenant and their property on the 11th day after they receive a court order.
Most states require that evictions occur for only a few reasons that are defined in the state’s Landlord-Tenant statutes. You can download the statutes for your state from this website. The book “How to Stop an Eviction” has chapters on contents of notices and types of notices. If the notice you receive does not contain the correct information, you can get your eviction action cancelled. To obtain those chapters go here.
How the notice is served on you is very important. States have different notice requirements, defined by the state statutes. You can download your state statutes from this website. If the notice was given to you improperly, you can get your eviction action cancelled. The book “How to Stop an Eviction” has a chapter on serving the notice so you can see if you were served properly. To obtain the chapter, go here.
After the notice period, the landlord summons the tenant to court. The summons must meet state standards for content and timing. The state standards can be downloaded from this website. The book “How to Stop an Eviction” has a chapter on contents of the summons so you can verify that the summons contained the correct information. If it does not, you may be able to get the eviction dismissed. To get access to that information, go here.
How the summons is served is important in the tenant’s defense. Many states require that the summons notice be served by someone other than the landlord. The service is often done improperly. In the book “How to Stop an Eviction” there is a section on contesting service of the summons. To get that information, go here.
It is also important that the tenant respond properly to the summons with the correct information to use at trial. There is an extensive chapter in the book “How to Stop an Eviction” showing the tenant how and where to research to determine problems with the landlord’s position. The response to the summons is where that research is entered. The chapter contains over 200 defenses to the eviction. To get access to the information, go here.
In the book “How to Stop an Eviction” there are two chapters relating to the trial. One chapter focusses on preparing for the trial, organizing the information and preparing it to be summarized and presented quickly. The other chapter is on trial strategy. Knowing what information to bring up and when is crucial to the tenant winning. To get access to that information, go here.
If the tenant loses at trial, there are still an additional 9 ways to either win or stall the eviction, sometimes for months. To get access to that information, go here.
Other Useful Information Below
1) Types of tenancies
The notices that you get from your landlord are based on the type of tenant you are. The landlord is required to know what type of tenant you are and to give you the proper notice. If they give you the wrong type of notice, you can often get your eviction action dismissed. To figure out which type of tenant you are, click on this type of tenancy for a quick analysis.
2) Bad mistakes that landlords make that can get them sued.
Click on the links below to see a quick summary of the problem
Health and safety Violations
Violations of Quiet Enjoyment
Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices
3) Getting the laws of your state
This summary information is provided with the understanding that it is subject to errors, omissions and misstatements. State laws are updated frequently and the most up to the minute information is contained in your state’s statutes.
It is important that you obtain the laws of your state and completely review them. We have a link on this website for you to obtain your state’s laws. To get your state’s laws, click here.
See paragraph above for context of the notices below. The paragraph begins “The eviction Notice”.
Letter of Eviction Notice
3 Day Notice to Quit
Landlord 30 Day Notice
3 Day Eviction
30 Day Eviction
3 day Eviction Notice
3 Day Notice of Eviction
Tenant Notice to Vacate
Notice to Tenant to Vacate
End Tenancy Letter
30 day Notice of Eviction
Notice to Vacate letter
3 Day Notice to Vacate
Notice to Tenants
Letter of Eviction
30 Day Notice to Vacate
Lease termination letter
Notice to Evict letter
Notice to Vacate
Notice For Eviction
Notice to End Lease
For the eviction process in other states, click the link below