Tennessee Tenant Rights Laws

As a party to a residential lease, it's important to understand your legal rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Your obligations include paying rent on time, complying with lease provisions, and providing appropriate notice when terminating a lease. Your rights include living in a safe and habitable environment, and being free from discrimination or retaliation.

Tennessee Tenants Rights Laws at a Glance

Tennessee has specific state laws that govern the relationship between landlords and tenants, protecting protect both parties' interests. As a tenant, it's helpful to be aware of certain laws regarding residential leases. For example, while Tennessee doesn't regulate how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit, a landlord is required to return it or explain why it is being withheld within 30 days of your move-out date.

Also, it's your landlord's responsibility to maintain your unit in a "fit and habitable condition." If your landlord refuses to make critical repairs after receiving notice of the issue, Tennessee law protects your right to "repair and deduct." This means that you can pay for the important repair out of pocket, and deduct the expense from your rent payment.

The below chart provides more information about Tennessee tenants' rights laws.

Statutes

Tennessee Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

Security Deposits

  • Tennessee law doesn't limit how much a landlord can require as a security deposit
  • Landlord must return security deposit or an itemized list of deductions within 30 days of tenant move-out

Paying Rent

  • Landlord can charge late fee not exceeding 10% of amount past due after rent is 5 days late

Living Conditions

  • Landlord must make any repairs necessary to keep premises in "fit and habitable condition""
  • Tenant may "repair and deduct" if landlord fails to make important repairs
  • Tenant can't unreasonably withhold consent for landlord to enter premises to make repairs
  • Landlord may enter unit without tenant consent only in the event of emergency
  • Landlord can't abuse right of access to harass tenant

Discrimination

  • It's illegal for landlords to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or disability

Ending or Renewing a Tenancy

  • If tenant is in material non-compliance with the lease, landlord can terminate the lease after providing 14 days' notice to tenant
  • If tenant has repeated an act that violates the lease or affects health or safety twice within 6 months, and landlord provided notice of the first violation, landlord can provide an unconditional notice to quit within 14 days

Retaliation

  • Landlords can't retaliate against tenants for exercising their legal rights

Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Tennessee Tenants Rights: Related Resources

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