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How to Handle an Eviction and Stick to the Law in Tennessee

HomeRiver Group Memphis - Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Property Management Blog

Did you know there are 3.6 million evictions filed each year in the United States?  

Evicting your tenant can be a long, expensive process. If you are a landlord currently considering evicting your tenant, keep reading to determine what is needed for eviction in Tennessee. 

Without Cause 

To evict a tenant, you are required to demonstrate cause. The cause can be criminal activity, damages, or failure to pay rent.  

Since you can't terminate the lease without cause, your best option is not to renew their lease once it is over. You aren't required to give the individual written notice that you aren't renewing their contract in less their lease specifies otherwise. The tenant would then be expected to move after their lease is up.  

If you have a month-to-month contract, you must give the tenant 30 days' notice that you would like them to vacant the property.  

Eviction Notice 

However, if you do have a cause, then you can begin the termination process. The first step is giving the tenant an eviction notice. You are required to provide a specific amount of time depending on the cause of the eviction.  

If the tenant doesn't pay rent, causes damage to the home, or commits a violent act, then you can give them a 14-day notice. If the tenant has committed a drug-related offense, you must only provide them with three days' notice. 

With all of the lease violations, you can give a 30-day notice to cure. This notice tells the tenant that they either need to fix any issues or you will begin the lawsuit against them at the end of the 30 days.  

Within the Notice 

The majority of notices should contain the option for the individual to right their errors, or you will begin the lawsuit against them. Having the individual solve the issue is the best-case scenario for both of you as it saves you the time and money of having a lawsuit.  

Detainer Notice 

After the allotted time has passed, the landlord will begin the lawsuit by going to their nearby court that handles evictions. There they will ask the court clerk to file a detainer warrant which tells the tenant the time and location of the trial. There will be a fee for this notice.  

The Lawsuit  

Then, you and the tenant will both be expected to show up for that court date. If your tenant doesn't show up, you automatically win.  

If they do show up, you will begin the trial process. You should keep detailed records of their transgressions and bring proof of it to court. You should also bring their lease and any other relevant paperwork.  

The judge will then make a ruling. If he rules in your favor, the tenant will have ten days to leave the property. They also could be expected to pay for past due rent, court fees, and attorney fees.  


The tenant can appeal the judgment within ten days. If this happens, then there will be another case where you would have to testify.  

Handle It Today 

If you have a tenant who isn't abiding by their lease, begin the process today of evicting them. Start with your eviction notice. Be sure to check if there are any COVID-19 regulations in your area.  

If this process seems overwhelming, contact an eviction lawyer who could help. Or look into property management companies that can handle all of your rental needs, from finding great renters to evicting the bad ones.