Tennessee Landlord Tenant Law

No part of this information is a substitute for legal advice. If you have questions or believe you have a legal case under Tennessee Landlord Tenant Law, you should contact an attorney.

Tennessee Landlord-Tenant Law – Business Licenses

  • Each landlord who owns and operates one or more rental property must obtain a business license and report the following information to state and county agencies responsible for upholding both building and safety codes pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann.§66-28-107
    • All of the landlord’s personal information including their name, full address and phone number as well as that of any agents acting on their behalf;
    • The street address and number of any and all rental units that are being rented, leased or subleased.
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Tennessee Landlord-Tenant Law – Security Deposits

  • Security Deposit Maximum: In Tennessee there is no maximum security deposit. (Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-301)
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: The landlord must return a tenant’s security deposit within 30 days pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-301(g)(1).
  • Nonrefundable Deposits: There is no statute.
  • Interest on Security Deposit: There is no statute.
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Tennessee requires a separate security bank account pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-301(a).
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: Tennessee has no statute.
  • Advanced Notice of Withholding: Required by Tennessee law pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann § 66-28-301(b)(2)(A).
  • Move Out Checklist and Itemized List of Damages/Charges: Landlords are required to present this tenants according to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-301(b)(2).
  • Joint Inspection Upon Vacating: This is required if the tenant requests it pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-301(b)(1)(B).
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: Tennessee has no statute.
  • Receipt of Deposit: Tennessee has no statute.
  • Failure to Comply: Tennessee has no statute.

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Tennessee Landlord-Tenant Law – Lease, Rent and Fees

  • Rent is Due: Rent is due promptly on the first of each month unless another date is agreed upon by both the renter and the landlord. This can be prorated on a day-to-day basis pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann §66-28-201(c).
  • Rent Increase Notice: Tennessee has no statute concerning a rent increase notice.
  • Rent Grace Period: Tennessee requires a 5 day grace period. This does not include Sundays or legal holidays. ( Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-201(d))
  • Late Fees: Late fees are not to exceed 10 percent of the total amount of past due rent pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-201(d).
  • Prepaid Rent: Tennessee has no statute concerning prepaid rent.
  • Returned Check Fees: In accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. §47-29-102, landlords can charge a $30 returned check fee.
  • Withholding Rent for Failure to Provide a Habitable Dwelling: Yes. A complaint must be filed with local officials by the tenant if the landlord fails to correct the issue at hand. The tenant can choose to pay rent to the county until the issue is remedied by the landlord. (Tenn. Code Ann. §68-111-1041)
  • Withholding Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services/Utilities (Heat, Electric, Water, etc.): Yes pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-25-502.
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes in pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-502.
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Attorney and Court Fees: Yes pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-512(c).
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages as well as Rerent: Yes in pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-507.
  • Additional information can be found here.

Tennessee Landlord-Tenant Law – Notices and Entry

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date Lease: Tennessee has no statute due to the fact that on the final date the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Mont to Month Lease: 30 days pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-512(b).
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week to Week Lease: 10 days pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-512(a).
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy for Noncompliance by Landlord: 14 days pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-501.
  • Termination for Nonpayment: Statute allows 14 days to remedy pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-7-109 and 30 days to vacate the premises pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-505.
  • Termination for Lease Violation: 30 days pursuant to statutes Tenn. Code Ann. §66-7-109 and Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-505.
  • Termination for Drug-related Criminal Acts or Violent Behavior: Statute allows 3 days pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-7-109(d).
  • Termination for Substance or Prostitution Violations: Statute allows for immediate termination pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-7-107(a).
  • Required Notice Before Entry: Tennessee has no statute in place but suggests 24 hours notice.
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-403(a).
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes. Statutes allow for entry with notice within the final 30 (thirty) days of the end of the lease. The landlord must provide 24 hours notice to show the property if it is specified within the terms of the agreement pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-403(e)(5).
  • Emergency Entrance Allowed without Notice: Yes pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-403(b).
  • Notice of the Date and Time of the Move-out Inspection: Tennessee has no statute.
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Yes pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-507.
  • Notice to Tenant’s for Pesticide Use: Tennessee has no statutes.
  • Lockouts Allowed: No lockouts are allowed.
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: If it is stated in the lease agreement that the tenant must have the utilities placed in their name and they do not comply within 3 days of moving in, the landlord has the right to terminate the service as long as it is still in their name pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-521.
  • Notice of Vehicle Towing: After giving 10 days notice, a landlord may have a vehicle towed if the any of the following conditions exist pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann: §66-28-519:
    • Flat tire(s): One or more missing or flat tires.
    • Dead: The vehicle is unable to be driven under its on power.
    • Broken Glass: One or more broken or missing windows, including windshield or back window.
    • Missing Fenders or Parts: One or more missing bumpers or fenders
    • Noncompliance: The tenant has not complied with all state, county and local laws in relation to the titling, licensing, registration and operation for any time longer than 30 days.
  • Notice of Extended Absence: The tenant is required to give the landlord notice of an intended absence that will last longer than 7 days, if it is specified in the lease agreement. If the tenant fails to comply, the are responsible for any and all damages that are caused in their absence pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-407.
  • Abandonment of Premises: The landlord can assume the tenant has abandoned the premise if the following circumstances exist pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann: §66-28-405.
    • The premises can be considered abandoned if the tenant’s unexplained absence lasts longer than 30 days and no rent has been paid during that period,
    • The tenant makes no attempt to pay rent for 15 days past the scheduled due date and their is factual evidence that suggests the tenant has permanently vacated the premises.
  • Abandonment of Personal Property: Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-405:
    • 10 Days: The landlord must give the tenant 10 days notice before claiming their personal property.
    • Relocation of Properties: If the tenant makes no attempt to contact the landlord to gain possession of their belongings, the landlord can remove the tenant’s personal property from the presence and stored for no less than 30 days time.
    • Sale or Disposal of Personal Property: After the required 30 days has elapsed, the landlord can dispose of or sell the tenant’s personal property. The proceeds can then be used to compensate the landlord for any expenses incurred during the abandonment or eviction processes.

Tennessee Landlord-Tenant Law – Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes

  • Landlord Duties and Maintenance: Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-304:
    • Compliance: Landlords must comply with building and housing codes that affect both health and safety
    • Tenant Screening: Landlords must get written or electronic consent to perform a tenant background check. If using AAOA to screen your tenant in Tennessee, our screening process includes the authorization.
    • Repairs: Make all needed repairs and take whatever steps are necessary to keep the property presentable and habitable
    • Common Areas: All common areas must be kept clean and in a safe condition
    • Trash: If a multi-unit complex that has more than four units is involved, the landlord is required to provide adequate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of trash or any other waste produced by the tenants as well as other common points
    • Other: Any other duties identified in Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-304
  • Tenant’s Duties:
    • Compliance: Comply with all obligations and responsibilities identified in both the state housing and safety codes
    • Cleanliness: Maintain the premises and area they rent as clean and safe as it was when they first gained possession
    • Trash: Make sure the resident is well maintained and that all trash, rubbish, ashes and any other waste is regularly removed and placed in the provided receptacles
    • Lawful Activity: Tenants and their visitors must not engage in any illegal or unlawful activity or deliberately or negligently destroy, deface or damage any portion of the premises either rented or common
    • Quiet Enjoyment: Tenants and their guests must act in an orderly manner that does not disturb or disrupt their neighbors right to peacefully enjoy their own area
  • Name and Addresses: The owner of the property must disclose the name and address of the landlord, property owner or any other person that acts on behalf of the management of the property and is allowed to receive any notices on behalf of the owner, prior to the beginning of the lease pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-302
  • Written Leases: A written lease is required for any rental or lease agreement that is expected to last three or more years in length pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-7-104
  • Fair Housing:
  • Notification By Email: If an email is submitted by the client to the landlord within the lease agreement, any notifications may be sent via the internet unless otherwise specified within the agreement pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-7-108
  • House Rules and Regulations: A landlord has the right to create any rules and regulations they see fit under any circumstances, at any time pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-402
  • Domestic Violence Situations: Tennessee has no statutes concerning DVS
  • Retaliation: A landlord cannot retaliate against a tenant by terminating a lease, refusing to renew an existing lease or levy a fine for complaining about an issue that falls within their legal rights pursuant to both Tenn. Code Ann. §66-28-51 and Tenn. Code Ann. §66-11-105
  • Lead Disclosure: Tenants must be informed of any possible lead paint hazards and receive a pamphlet from the landlord detailing the dangers associated with possible lead paint contamination.

Tennessee Landlord-Tenant Law – Court Related

  • Tennessee Small Claims Court
    • Limits: $25,000, if an eviction case is at hand, there is no limit pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §16-15-501(d)
    • Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims Court: Yes
    • County Clerk by County
    • Helpful Information and Guidelines provided for people who have a case in General Sessions Court
  • Statute of Limitations
  • Justice for All (A Tennessee Supreme Court Coalition)
  • State of Tennessee Judicial District Maps
  • State of Tennessee Bar Association
  • State of Tennessee Attorney General
  • State of Tennessee Courts
  • Legal Aid of Tennessee
  • Find an Attorney
    • Tennessee Bar Association

Tennessee Tenant Screening Background Checks

Tennessee has a Tennessee tenant screening background check law in effect that allows landlords to use state data bases to obtain information about an applicant’s past. Driving records, records obtained from the Department of Corrections, court records and a person’s eviction history can be used in the screening process. The information obtained, however, may not be used to alter or change an agreement that is already in place. This information can also be used to alter a lease that is up for renewal or when considering an applicant for approval. The Tennessee Tenant Screening Law is in place to protect both the tenant and the landlord. A key component of landlord tenant laws is also Tennessee Tenant Screening Background Checks. We’ve dedicated an entire page to it because of its importance. Visit Tennessee Tenant Screening Background Checks to screen your tenant

Tennessee Landlord Forms

There are several Check out American Apartment Owners Association’s Tennessee Landlord Forms now.

Nationwide Landlord Tenant Laws

Looking for landlord tenant laws outside of Tennessee? The American Apartment Owners Association offers helpful landlord tenant laws for all 50 states. Click on any of the states listed below and go directly to its landlord tenant laws page.

Reminder: This information is a general explanation and summary of Tennessee Landlord Tenant Law but is in no way meant to substitute for legal advice, nor does it list all the statutes under the Tennessee Residential Landlord Tenant Act.