Know your rights when a tenant misuses your property

Whether a tenant is illegally running a business, keeping a pet, having loud parties or otherwise breaking the terms of the lease, landlords can take legal action to protect their property. However, they must also pay attention to Tennessee’s tenant rights laws when doing so. 

Explore the potential avenues of recourse when a tenant misuses or breaches the lease of a rental property. 

Retaining the security deposit

If the property misuse caused damage to the rental home, the landlord may keep all or part of the security deposit. He or she can also withhold the deposit to cover unpaid rent and the cost of other breaches to the lease agreement. 

When taking this route, the landlord must provide an itemized list of deductions from the security deposit. He or she should send this statement to the tenant’s most recent available address by certified mail. The tenant has 60 days to respond before the landlord can legally take the money for repairs and damages. 

Removing unauthorized vehicles

The presence of old cars and trucks on the property can decrease the value of the landlord’s investment. Tennessee law allows a landlord to tow a vehicle on the rental property when the vehicle is no longer operable or has at least one missing or flat tire, missing window, missing windshield, missing fender or missing bumper. This law takes effect when the vehicle goes without valid registration, license or title for at least 30 days. 

Evicting the tenant

Tennessee landlords can evict tenants for illegal actions at the rental home, violent actions, violations of the lease and failure to pay rent. However, they must provide a tenant with the proper notice period. In Davidson County, tenants must receive 14 days’ notice before a legal eviction. If they address the violation, they can avoid eviction. For the second violation in six months, the legal notice period shortens to seven days. 

Failing to adhere to state landlord-tenant laws can result in serious legal sanctions. At the same time, following the guidelines closely can limit the potential damage to your investment property. 

Trevor Baskin and The Baskin Firm can help you with your Tennessee real estate law questions. Visit our contact page and set up a consultation!

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