Tenneessee Eviction Process & Laws | Free TN Eviction Notices

A Tennessee eviction is a legal undertaking by the landlord when a tenant has been unresponsive when a notice to quit has been sent to them. The notice gives the tenant warning that they have committed a lease violation or that their tenancy at will is being terminated. If the tenant does not react to any of the notices the landlord is allowed to make a filing with a County Clerk Location. The tenant will have a sufficient time enough to answer the claim and should review Their Rights as a Renter.

Illegal Behavior Laws - 3 days § 66-7-109(d)

NonPayment Laws - 14 days § 66-7-109

NonCompliance Laws - 30 days § 66-7-109(b)

Month to Month Laws - 30 days § 66-28-512(b)

Prostitution or Drug-Related Laws - Immediate § 66-7-107

Forcible Entry and Detainer Laws Title 29, Chapter 18

Types of Notice

Tennessee 14 Day Notice to Pay or Quit | NonPayment of Rent

The Tennessee fourteen (14) day notice to pay or quit, in association with § 66-7-109, is used when a tenant has failed to pay rent. The full notice period is actually 30 days, however the tenant must pay the past due amount of rent within 14 days of receiving the notice…

Tennessee 3 Day Notice to Vacate | Illegal Behavior

The Tennessee three (3) day notice to vacate, violation due to Statute 66-7-109(d), can only be used when a tenant has severely damaged the rental property, committed a violent act on the premises, or “engaged in any drug-related criminal activity.” This notice gives the tenant 3 days (from the date…

Tennessee 30 Day Lease Termination Letter | Month to Month Tenancy

The Tennessee thirty (30) day termination letter, in regards to Statute 66-28-512(b), may be used by a landlord to notify a tenant that their lease is being terminated. The landlord does not need a specific reason to terminate the lease agreement (as long as the reason is not in discrimination/retaliation of…

Tennessee 30 Day Notice to Cure or Quit | NonCompliance or Violation

The Tennessee thirty (30) day notice to cure or vacate, in regards to Statute 66-7-109(b), is the notice used to inform a tenant of their noncompliance with the lease agreement. If the tenant does not cure the violation(s) or move out of the rental unit by the end of the…

Tennessee IMMEDIATE Notice to Vacate | Illegal Activity

The Tennessee immediate notice to vacate, for a violation in accordance with Statute 66-7-107. How to Write

Process How to Evict a Tenant

The only way to evict a tenant in the State of Tennessee is by obtaining a court order (“self-help” evictions are illegal). Before filing an eviction suit (often times referred to as a “Forcible Entry and Detainer”), the landlord must serve the tenant with a written eviction notice (the notice cannot be verbally given to the tenant). There are five main kinds of eviction notices that can be used (1. the 14 day notice to pay*, 2. the 3 day notice to vacate for illegal behavior, 3. the 30 day termination notice for month-to-month tenancies, 4. 30 day notice to cure, 5. the immediate notice to quit for prostitution/drug activity).

Note: Certain counties in Tennessee have different notice requirements due to the Uniform Residential Landlord & Tenant Act (URLTA). Anderson, Blount, Bradley, Davidson, Hamilton, Madison, Montgomery, Shelby, Sumner and Knox counties all adhere to URLTA guidelines. URLTA counties require a 30 day notice for nonpayment of rent (as well as lease violations).

*If the lease agreement does not explicitly state the notice period for nonpayment of rent, the standard is 30 days.

Step 1 – The tenant must be served the proper eviction notice. Acceptable forms of service include personal delivery, posting the notice on the premises of the rental unit, leaving the notice with a resident of the unit, or sending it via certified mail.

Step 2 – Allow the tenant the full notice period to pay the past due rent/cure the violation(s)/vacate the unit. If the tenant does not comply with the notice within the specified time frame, an eviction lawsuit can be filed.

Step 3 – File a “Detainer Summons” (eviction action) in the Circuit Court where the rental property is located. If the rental property is not personally owned, a lawyer may have to file the action. After the action has been filed, the Sheriff will serve a copy of the Summons to the tenant. The tenant will be required to file a written answer (to the Complaint) within 6 days of being served. If the tenant does not file an answer, they will most likely lose the case by default and be ordered to vacate the rental unit.

Note: The filing/service fee is typically $100.

Step 4 – If the tenant is found guilty of forcible entry and detainer (or unlawful detainer), the Judge will order them to vacate the rental property within 10 days. If the tenant fails to move out within the 10 day period, a “Writ of Possession” must be filed. After paying the filing fee, the clerk will send a copy to the Sheriff, who will then supervise the eviction (physically removing the tenant if necessary).