The Tennessee landlord-tenant law aims to protect the interest of both landlords and tenants. To maintain a healthy business relationship with your tenants, it’s crucial to abide by the rules and regulations as stated in the law. 

Required Disclosures in Tennessee

According to TN rental laws landlords must disclose certain information to tenants. The disclosures are as follows:

Nonrefundable Fees

According to the Tennessee landlord-tenant law, the disclosure of nonrefundable fees is not required. However, landlords are recommended to include non-refundable fees in the lease agreement. 

A nonrefundable fee that is not clearly stated in the lease agreement can cause a problem with the tenant later on. The tenant may demand a refund of these fees upon termination of the lease. 

Security Deposits

Tennessee landlords are mandated to disclose the location of the bank account where the security deposit is being held. Tennessee landlords must return the security deposits to tenants within 60 days after the termination of the lease. Those who violate this law may be liable to pay extra fees.  

depositing money in a piggy bank

While there is no standard limit or maximum amount of security deposits that Tennessee landlords are allowed to charge, this can vary. It’s best to check the local county or city ordinances.

Truth in Renting Act

The Tennessee residential lease agreement should include the terms and conditions agreed upon by the landlord and the tenant. The landlord should also state in the agreement the obligations of the tenant while renting the property for residential use.

Owner or Agent Identity

The identity of the landlord or any authorized individual or entity should be disclosed to the tenant in writing. This should include the full names, addresses, and contact information of the agent authorized to manage the rental, as well as of the owner of the property.

Tenant Rights and Responsibilities in Tennessee

The following are the basic rights of Tennessee tenants. A tenant in Tennessee has the right to:

  • A habitable place to live in 
  • Take legal action if the landlord fails to provide a habitable place 
  • Make the necessary repairs (if the landlord does not respond to repair requests) and deduct the repair cost from future rent payments
  • Legally terminate a lease before its due date because of uninhabitable units, active military duty, landlord harassment, lease violation, or an early termination clause in the lease
  • A 24-hour notice in the final 30 days of the lease if the landlord wants to show the unit to potential renters
  • Not be evicted as a form of retaliation or discrimination

moving boxes sitting on a desk

The following are the basic responsibilities for tenants to follow in the state of Tennessee: 

  • Pay the rent on a timely basis
  • Take care of the property and keep it free from damages and safety or health hazards
  • Follow the housing and safety codes as stated in the law
  • Maintain a certain level of cleanliness and keep the property free from sanitation hazards
  • Not engage in any activity that is considered illegal 
  • Avoid activities that may disturb other tenants or neighbors
  • Not deliberately damage or destroy any part of the rental unit

Tennessee Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

The following are the basic rights of landlords in the state of Tennessee:

  • To collect rent when it’s due
  • To demand payment for damages to the premises that are not part of normal wear and tear
  • To begin the eviction process for any legal grounds for eviction
  • To raise rent without prior notice

The following are the basic landlord responsibilities in the state of Tennessee:

  • Comply with the standards of habitability set by the Bureau of Health Administration
  • Return the security deposit to the tenant within 60 days of the end of the lease
  • Follow the eviction process under Tennessee law
  • Perform regular maintenance and necessary repairs 

An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in Tennessee

Tenant Privacy and Landlord’s Right to Enter the Occupied Unit

In many states the landlord must provide the tenant with ample notice before entering their unit. 

two people in a rental unit

However, can a landlord enter without permission in Tennessee? In Tennessee, there is no specific rule that landlords should give notice before entering inhabited properties. 

Maintenance and Repair

In Tennessee, the Bureau of Health Administration sets the minimum standards of living for landlords. Landlords should comply with these standards and are required to make the necessary repairs within 14 days. 

Tennessee’s Housing Discrimination Laws 

The Fair Housing Rules dictate that it is illegal to discriminate against a tenant based on their disabilities, job, gender identity, sexual orientation, health, familial status, age, ancestry, marital status, sex, religion, or race. 

Security Deposits

Tennessee lease laws do not specify a maximum limit on the amount landlords can charge as a security deposit. Also, Tennessee landlords may charge an additional pet deposit, except for people with disabilities who use service animals. 

Required Landlord Disclosures

It is suggested to put landlord disclosures in writing. It is highly recommended to print these disclosures directly into the lease and go over them with the tenant. 

someone sitting at a desk and writing in a notebook

Tennessee landlords are required to make the following disclosures:

  • Information about lead paint concentrations for homes built before 1978 
  • Names, addresses, and contact information of the property owner and any authorized agent or entity managing the property
  • Location of the account where the security deposit is being held

Tenant’s Rights to Withhold Rent

If a landlord fails to perform the necessary repairs, tenants have the following options:

  • Exercise their right to perform the necessary repairs and deduct the cost from future rent payments
  • Legally break a lease due to uninhabitable units

Lawsuits in Small Claims Court

Issues can arise for multiple reasons. Tennessee tenants can sue landlords in small claims court for their security deposit and other rental and lease disputes, up to a dollar amount of $25,000. 

Bottom Line

If you have specific questions, hire the services of a qualified Tennessee attorney. You may also hire a knowledgeable property management company in Tennessee. For your property management needs, contact Keyrenter Knoxville at  (865) 999-4539. 

Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.