Tennessee Landlord Retaliation Laws

Tennessee Landlord Retaliation Laws

Last Updated: August 10, 2023

NOTE: Tennessee’s Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (URLTA) applies only to counties with a population of more than 75,000. This covers about 75% of tenants in Tennessee. In all other counties, the lease, locally applicable laws, and local common law will control disputes.

As of the publication of this article, these are the counties where the URLTA does apply: Anderson, Blount, Bradley, Davidson, Greene, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Maury, Montgomery, Rutherford, Sevier, Shelby, Sullivan, Sumner, Washington, Williamson, and Wilson.

Tenant Protected Actions
  • Complaints to Landlord About Security Deposit Process
  • Making Use of URLTA Remedies
Landlord Retaliatory Actions
  • Raising Rent
  • Decreasing Services
  • Filing/Threatening Eviction or Lawsuit
Penalties for Retaliation
  • Repossess Property
  • Sue for Damages
  • Recover Attorney Fees

When Is It Illegal for Landlords to Retaliate in Tennessee?

It’s illegal for Tennessee landlords to retaliate with raised rent, reduced services, or threatened eviction against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions:

  • Complaining to the landlord about potential violation of the security deposits law.
  • Pursuing remedies given by the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act.

However, the law does allow eviction regardless, when the tenant caused the issue or defaults on rent. The landlord can also evict when code compliance requires altering or demolishing the rental unit so substantially that it would put the tenant out of the unit anyway.

What Can Tenants Do in Response in Tennessee?

Tennessee tenants must respond to retaliation by first giving the landlord written notice of the retaliation and waiting 14 days for the landlord to stop retaliating. They can then sue for quiet enjoyment of the property, and for monetary damages related to the retaliation, plus reasonable attorney fees.