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Tennessee Leases and Rental Agreements Laws

The legal relationship between landlord and tenant is regulated at the state level, where statutes offer protections for both parties. In Tennessee, as in other states, state (and federal) law prohibits discrimination against tenants and prospective tenants on the basis of race, religion, gender, and other protected characteristics. But unlike many other state lease regulations, the Volunteer State doesn't limit the amount of deposit a landlord may require, nor is there a deadline for returning security deposits.

See the following chart for a list of Tennessee's main rental agreement laws, with additional information about landlord-tenant law. FindLaw's Rental and Lease Agreements section has additional articles and resources.

Code Section 66-28-201, 301, 512; 4-21-601, 602
Terms of Leases Holdover converts to month-to-month tenancy or, upon agreement, apportionable day-to-day
Deposits No limit on deposit; interest on deposit not required
Discrimination No discrimination on basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin; housing for older persons exempted
Uniform Residential Landlord & Tenant Act Adopted? Yes

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Tennessee landlord-tenant attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

What to Look for in a Lease Agreement

Tennessee law has very limited regulation of leases, but the parties are legally bound by their signed lease agreement, which is a contract. The terms of the lease should address a number of things, including:

  • The names of the tenant and landlord
  • Property address
  • Lease length (1 year? Month-to-month?)
  • Monthly rent and due date
  • Security deposit amount, and related terms
  • How to request repairs, maintenance, etc.
  • Pet policy

Not all lease provisions are enforceable, though, including agreements that the landlord can come onto the rental property at any time without notice or that the tenant must pay for any damage regardless of fault. Although you may not be able to break your lease if you have to move for a new job or some other reason, unless it's for the military, you should discuss your situation with the landlord.

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Tennessee Lease and Rental Agreement Laws: Related Resources

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