The Tennessee Rental Lease Agreements are legal forms designed to transfer temporarily transfer property from a property manager or owner, known as the landlord, to another party, known as the tenant. This page covers most of the common forms of leases, as well as forms to help facilitate the renting process. In Tennessee, renting or selling property requires a Real Estate Brokers License.
There are a wide variety of leases, ranging from temporary to long term, and covering everything from residential to commercial uses for property. As each lease in unique, every single one should be carefully read and understood by both parties before being signed, although a residential lease is usually required to have straightforward and clear language, to prevent miscommunications. Landlords and tenants should also be aware of any local or state laws that may affect their lease.
Form Description Types
Tennessee Rental Laws
Laws are pursuant to Tennessee Code Ann. 66-28-101 to 66-28-521.
There are no laws on the state level restricting the amount a landlord can charge for a security deposit, although there may be local statutes and restrictions a tenant should be aware of. Once the tenant has moved out, the landlord has thirty (30) days to return the deposit. If they landlord wants to take money out of the deposit to pay for repairs or owed rent, the landlord must present the tenant with an itemized list of all withdrawals.
There are no legal restrictions on rent in Tennessee, as there are no rent controlled communities in Tennessee. How much rent is, when it is due and in what form will all be specified in the lease. If the tenant fails to pay rent on time and in full, they may incur a late fee. Under Tennessee state law, a late fee cannot be imposed until the rent is five (5) days late. If the fifth day the rent is late is either a Sunday or a legal holiday, the late fee can only be imposed on the next business day. A late fee in Tennessee cannot exceed ten (10) percent of the amount owed.
As there are no laws on the state level regulating how much notice must be given in a Month to Month Lease for a rent increase, the amount of time is the same for any other alteration to the lease; Thirty (30) days. Note that rent can only be increased in a Month to Month Lease. In a One Year or longer Lease, the rent cannot be increased or otherwise altered until the lease has ended.
Eviction is a fairly straightforward process in a Month to Month Lease. The landlord can, at their discretion, give the tenant thirty (30) days written notice to move out, at which point the lease will be permanently terminated. In a One Year Lease, the process is more complicated.
If the landlord wishes to terminate the lease due to a lease violation (such as failing to pay rent) the landlord must serve the tenant with notice and give the them fourteen (14) days to fix the violation, followed by sixteen (16) days to move out before filing for eviction. If the tenant has received a second such notice in the same six (6) month period, the landlord can file an Unconditional Quit Notice, giving the tenant fourteen (14) days to move out before filing for eviction.
Once the landlord has filed for eviction, the landlord will schedule a hearing with the local court system, which the tenant will be invited to attend and argue their case. If the landlord can show just cause, the tenant will be served an Eviction Notice. Without an Eviction Notice, the landlord cannot alter the locks, turn off utilities, install a deadbolt or otherwise attempt to force the tenant out of the premises.
Either Federal or Tennessee State Law forbids housing discrimination (IE, evicting, denying housing, altering rent) based on the following reasons:
- race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, family status, physical or mental disability
- note that age, marital status, gender identity and sexual orientation are not covered
Landlord’s Right to Enter
A landlord is permitted to enter the property at a reasonable time, for a reasonable purpose, if they give what a layperson would consider reasonable notice. In an emergency setting, the landlord may enter without giving notice and without gaining consent from the tenant. In addition, under Tennessee state law, a landlord may show the property to prospective buyers during the tenant’s last month of tenancy, if they provide twenty four (24) hours notice.