How to Serve an Eviction Notice in Tennessee

How to Serve an Eviction Notice in Tennessee

Last Updated: April 19, 2023 by Marnie Snyder

In Tennessee, in order for the delivery of a lease termination or eviction notice to be legal, certain rules and procedures must be followed. If they are not and the case proceeds to court, the case may be postponed or dismissed by a judge.

Who Can Serve Eviction Notices in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, landlords can serve eviction notices and lease termination notices themselves. Landlords may choose to hire a sheriff, process server or independent party over eighteen (18) years old to serve an official notice, but they are not required to do so by law.

When Can Eviction Notices Be Served in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, most lease termination and eviction notices can be served immediately on any day of the week and at any time of day.

For a 14 Day Notice to Quit, the eviction notice used for tenants that do not pay rent in full and on time, a landlord can serve notice the day after rent is due. There is no legal grace period for paying rent in Tennessee, rent is late starting the day after it’s due.

For a 3 Day Notice of Termination, the eviction notice used for tenants that commit a violent act on the premises, landlords use this notice in locations governed by the Tennessee Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA). In accordance with state law, landlords must serve this notice on a judicial day (not counting weekends or legal holidays), so that tenants have immediate access to the courthouse.

For an Immediate Notice to Vacate, the eviction notice used for tenants that engage in prostitution or the business of illicit drugs, a landlord can deliver the notice on any day. However, landlords may choose to serve the notice on a judicial day in order to begin eviction proceedings immediately, but this is not required by law.

Acceptable Forms of Service in Tennessee

A landlord can deliver notices in Tennessee using any of the below acceptable methods:

  1. Handing the notice to the tenant in person;
  2. Handing the notice to a person of suitable age at the property AND mailing the notice by certified or registered mail with a return receipt;
  3. Posting the notice in a conspicuous place at the premises, such as the entry door, AND mailing the notice by certified or registered mail with a return receipt;
  4. Delivering the notice electronically, such as via email or through an online tenant portal, if prior written consent for this method has been given (i.e. in the lease agreement).

When sending the notice by certified or registered mail, add three (3) additional calendar days to the notice period to account for variability in post office delivery times.

Obtaining Proof of Service in Tennessee

A landlord can demonstrate proof that a notice was delivered through the following methods:

  • Hand Delivery – by completing a Declaration of Service at the time of delivery.
  • Certified or Registered Mail – via return receipt and by completing a Declaration of Service at the time of delivery.
  • Posting at the Premises – by taking a photograph at the time of delivery and by completing a Declaration of Service.
  • Email / Online – via electronic record and by completing a Declaration of Service.

Tennessee Eviction & Lease Termination Notice Forms

Notice Form Grounds
14 Day Notice to Quit Eviction for Unpaid Rent
14 Day Notice to Comply or Vacate Eviction for Lease Violation

(Non-URLTA)*

14 Day Notice to Comply Eviction for Lease Violation

(URLTA)*

7 Day Notice to Vacate Eviction for Repeat Lease Violation

(URLTA)*

14 Day Notice to Vacate Eviction for Repeat Lease Violation

(Non-URLTA)*

3 Day Notice of Termination Eviction for Violent Act / Health or Safety

(URLTA)*

3 Day Notice to Vacate Eviction for Violent Act / Criminal Activity

(Non-URLTA)*

Immediate Notice to Vacate Eviction for Illegal Activity
30 Day Notice to Quit Eviction for Lease Violation

(Non-URLTA)*

10 Day Notice to Vacate Ending a Weekly Lease
30 Day Notice to Vacate Ending a Monthly / Yearly Lease
60 Day Notice to Vacate Non-Renewal of Lease (Davidson County)

URLTA vs Non-URLTA Counties in Tennessee

*In Tennessee, depending on the county the property is located in, landlords and tenants are governed by one or both of the following sets of laws:

  • Tennessee Property Code Chapter 7 – laws that apply in ALL counties in Tennessee.
  • Tennessee Property Code Chapter 28 – known as the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act (URLTA), laws that only apply in Tennessee counties with a population over 75,000 (as of 2010 Census data).

Chapter 28 laws exist to give additional protections to landlords and tenants above and beyond those stated in Chapter 7.

For counties where the URLTA applies, these laws apply in addition to Chapter 7. However, some laws in Chapter 7 explicitly do not apply to URLTA counties, and some laws in Chapter 28 override the laws stated in Chapter 7. Therefore, it’s important to know if a property is located in a URLTA applicable county, or a non-URLTA applicable county.

URLTA applicable counties include*:

  • Anderson
  • Blount
  • Bradley
  • Davidson
  • Greene
  • Hamilton
  • Knox
  • Madison
  • Maury
  • Montgomery
  • Rutherford
  • Sevier
  • Shelby
  • Sullivan
  • Sumner
  • Washington
  • Williamson
  • Wilson

* This list is subject to change in the future based on federal census data collected every ten years.

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