Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 66: Property

Chapter 28: Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

Part 5: Enforcement and Remedies

TCA 66-28-517: Termination by landlord for violence or threats to health, safety, or welfare of persons or property.

(a) A landlord may terminate a rental agreement within three (3) days from the date written notice is received by the tenant if the tenant or any other person on the premises with the tenant's consent:

(1) Willfully or intentionally commits a violent act;

(2) Behaves in a manner which constitutes or threatens to be a real and present danger to the health, safety or welfare of the life or property of other tenants or persons on the premises; or

(3) Creates a hazardous or unsanitary condition on the property that affects the health, safety or welfare or the life or property of other tenants or persons on the premises.

(b) The notice required by this section shall specifically detail the violation which has been committed and shall be effective only from the date of receipt of the notice by the tenant.

(c) Upon receipt of such written notice, the tenant shall be entitled to immediate access to any court of competent jurisdiction for the purpose of obtaining a temporary or permanent injunction against such termination by the landlord.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to allow a landlord to recover or take possession of the dwelling unit by action or otherwise including willful diminution of services to the tenant by interrupting or causing interruption of electric, gas or other essential service to the tenant except in the case of abandonment or surrender.

(e) If the landlord's action in terminating the lease under this provision is willful and not in good faith, the tenant may in addition recover actual damages sustained by the tenant plus reasonable attorney's fees.

(f) The failure to bring an action for or to obtain an injunction may not be used as evidence in any action to recover possession of the dwelling unit.

(g) (1) If domestic abuse, as defined in § 36-3-601, is the underlying offense for which a tenancy is terminated, only the perpetrator may be evicted. The landlord shall not evict the victims, minor children under eighteen (18) years of age, or innocent occupants, any of whom occupy the subject premises under a lease agreement, based solely on the domestic abuse. Even if evicted or removed from the lease, the perpetrator shall remain financially liable for all amounts due under all terms and conditions of the present lease agreement.

(2) If a lease agreement is in effect at the time that the domestic abuse is committed, the landlord may remove the perpetrator from the lease agreement and require the remaining adult tenants to qualify for and enter into a new agreement for the remainder of the present lease term. The landlord shall not be responsible for any and all damages suffered by the perpetrator due to the bifurcation and termination of the lease agreement in accordance with this section.

(3) If domestic abuse, as defined in § 36-3-601, is the underlying offense for which tenancy could be terminated, the victim and all adult tenants shall agree, in writing, not to allow the perpetrator to return to the subject premises or any part of the community property, and to immediately report the perpetrator's return to the proper authority, for the remainder of the tenancy. A violation of such agreement shall be cause to terminate tenancy as to any victim and all other tenants.

(4) The rights under this section shall not apply until the victim has been judicially granted an order of protection against the perpetrator for the specific incident for which tenancy is being terminated, a copy of such order has been provided to the landlord, and the order:

(A) Provides for the perpetrator to move out or vacate immediately;

(B) Prohibits the perpetrator from coming by or to a shared residence;

(C) Requires that the perpetrator stay away from the victim's residence; or

(D) Finds that the perpetrator's continuing to reside in the rented or leased premises may jeopardize the life, health, and safety of the victim or the victim's minor children.

(5) Failure to comply with this section, or dismissal of an order of protection that allows application of this section, abrogates the rights provided to the victim, minor children, and innocent occupants under this section.

(6) The rights granted in this section shall not apply in any situation where the perpetrator is a child or dependent of any tenant.

(7) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the eviction of a victim of domestic abuse for non-payment of rent, a lease violation, or any violation of this chapter.

History: Acts 1983, ch. 271, § 1; 2011, ch. 272, § 13; 2012, ch. 887, § 2; 2016, ch. 895, § 1.