Updated on June 25th, 2023
Tennessee eviction notices are documents delivered from a landlord to a tenant that communicate that they intend on terminating the lease within the number of days indicated on the form. The cause for termination and whether the tenant has the ability to rectify the situation are also detailed in the notice. In Tennessee, the laws which govern a particular property are dependent on the county in which it is located and the number of people in said county. The most populated counties (above seventy-five thousand residents) are governed by the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA), while more rural communities must adhere to Title 66, Chapter 7 of the Tennessee Code.
14-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment – Provides the tenant with fourteen (14) days in which to pay rent or quit the premises.
7-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment – A notice served to tenants living in counties governed by the URLTA that have defaulted on rent for the second time in six (6) months.
14-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance – Gives a tenant fourteen (14) days to cure a violation of the lease or quit the premises.
7-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance – For tenants living in counties governed by the URLTA, this notice gives them seven (7) days to quit the premises or face eviction.
30-Day Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Tenancy– Used to terminate an at-will, month-to-month lease. Can be used by either tenant or landlord.
3-Day Notice to Quit for Violent or Illegal Activity – This notice to quit provides the tenant with three (3) days to quit the premises after they have committed or consented to violent or illegal activities on the premises.
Immediate Notice to Quit for Illegal Activity – This notice demands that a tenant quit at once for allowing prostitution or the use/production/sale/delivery of a controlled substance.
- Grace Period (§ 66-28-201(d)): Five (5) Days
- Non-Payment of Rent (§ 66-28-505 and § 66-7-109(a)(1)(A)): Fourteen (14) Days
- Lease Non-Compliance (§ 66-28-505 and § 66-7-109(a)): Fourteen (14) Days
- Other Lease Non-Compliance (§ 66-7-109(b)): Thirty (30) Days
- Periodic Tenancy Termination (§ 66-28-512(b)): Thirty (30) Days
- Illegal or Violent Acts (§ 66-7-109(d) and § 66-28-517(a)): Three (3) Days
- Prostitution or Controlled Substances (§ 66-7-107(a)): Immediate
In Tennessee, the laws which govern the property depend on the population of the county in which it is located. Not all notices to quit listed on this page apply to all property. The landlord is not legally allowed to force a tenant to move out by changing the locks or shutting off utilities. In order to remove a tenant from the property, they will have to provide the appropriate eviction notice and file for eviction with the court.
Step 1 – Draft a Notice to Quit
Before a landlord can file for eviction, they are required to notify the tenant of the manner in which they broke their lease and the number of days they have to quit the premises or remedy the infraction. In some cases, there will be no opportunity to stay on the lease due to the severity of the violation or the number of previous breaches. The landlord must deliver the notice and await the period before proceeding. All notices listed below are obligatory unless there is, contained in the lease document, a provision that waives the tenant’s right to notice should they miss a rent payment. Furthermore, the immediate notice to quit for illegal activity is optional and the landlord may instead terminate the lease agreement and evict the tenant without notice.
- 14-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment
- 7-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment
- 14-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
- 7-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
- 30-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
- 30-Day Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Lease
- 3-Day Notice to Quit for Violent or Illegal Activity
- Immediate Notice to Quit for Illegal Activity
Step 2 – File and Serve Detainer Summons
Should the tenant fail to comply with the terms of the notice to quit, the landlord may file a Detainer Summons in the General Sessions Court that has jurisdiction over the leased property. A process server (sheriff or constable) must then deliver the Summons to the address of the tenant (defendant) to communicate the claims made by the landlord (plaintiff) and the court date for the hearing. The date will be not less than six (6) days from the service of the Summons.
Step 3 – Appear in Court
Both parties must appear on time in court on the day indicated on the Detainer Summons. The landlord should come prepared with copies of the lease, the notice to quit, and any other evidence that will help their argument. Should the defendant fail to appear on the day of the trial, the judge will order a default judgment against them and the landlord will regain possession of the property.
Step 4 – Judgment
After hearing both arguments, provided that the tenant attends the trial, the judge will determine the amount of rent, interest, and damages owed to the landlord (if any) and whether the tenant is required to vacate. A judgment in favor of the tenant will enable them to remain on the premises. A judgment in favor of the landlord will transfer the property back to them and entitle them to whatever money the judge has deemed appropriate. The tenant will have ten (10) days from the date of the judgment to appeal the case or vacate the premises.
Step 5 – Sheriff Removal
Following the ten (10) day period, if the tenant still resides on the property, the landlord can issue a Writ of Possession which will have law enforcement physically remove the tenant from the premises. The landlord, after the tenant has been removed, must wait forty-eight (48) hours before they can remove the rest of the tenant’s property.
- Detainer Summons
- Signing: Judge, Clerk/Deputy Clerk, Process Server
- Writ of Possession
- Signing: Clerk/Deputy Clerk, Process Server