A Tennessee lease agreement is a legal document created to regulate the contractual relationship between the landlord (lessor) and the tenant (lessee).
The lease agreement regulates the following:
Reasons to Use a Lease Agreement
Rent amount and rent payment due date
Amount of the security deposit
Late and any non-refundable fees
Mandatory disclosures provided by federal and state law
Rules for the lease agreement termination
The landlord and the tenant are free to include any other clause in the lease agreement as long as it’s not prohibited by federal and Tennessee laws and regulations.
The tenant starts the rental procedure by submitting the rental application to the landlord. The rental application contains all the relevant information about the tenant, including their financial and employment information.
After the tenant’s application is successfully reviewed, the landlord and the tenant start negotiations and lease agreement drafting.
Tennessee Lease Agreement Required Disclosures
When drafting the Tennessee lease agreement, you should pay attention to the following mandatory clauses:
Lead-based paint disclosure. The landlord must include this disclosure in their lease agreement if the leased property was built before 1978. It must inform the tenant about any lead-based paint presence at the leased property. (Section 1018 of Title X)
Security deposit account disclosure. This disclosure must be included in the lease agreement if the landlord requires the security deposit during the tenancy. If that is the case, the landlord must inform the tenant about the location of the account where the security deposit is kept. (§ 66-28-301(h))
Manager and owner disclosure. The landlord must disclose the names and addresses of the following people in the lease agreement:
Owner of the property or the person authorized to act on their behalf for receiving the notices and demands. (§ 66-28-302)
Property showing disclosure. If the landlord wants to keep the right to show the leased property to the prospective tenants during the lease term with the current tenants, they must disclose so in the lease agreement. This right can only be exercised in the last 30 days of the lease and only if the tenant is given 24 hours’ notice. (§ 66-28-403)
Tennessee Lease Agreement Optional Disclosures
The landlord and the tenant can also include additional disclosures in their lease agreement and add extra security to their contractual relationship, such as:
Mold disclosure. The landlord should inform the tenant if there is a history of mold at the leased property. Disclosure can also include the guidelines for mold prevention. This will also prevent the landlord's liability for the damages caused by the mold.
Smoking disclosure. The landlord can include this disclosure to provide the smoking policy at the leased property. They can allow or forbid smoking, or inform the tenant about the designated smoking areas at the leased property.
Consequences of Non-Disclosure
Federal law provides a fine of up to $19,507 for the landlord that fails to include the lead-based paint disclosure in their lease agreement.
Besides the federal penalties, the landlord can face civil lawsuits for a compensation claim for damages caused by health and safety hazards not properly disclosed in the lease agreement.
Tennessee Lease Agreement Security Deposits
Security Deposit Maximum
Tennessee law doesn’t set the maximum amount that can be charged as the security deposit.
Therefore, the landlord and the tenant can negotiate any amount they deem reasonable and insert it in the lease agreement.
Security Deposit Return
After the lease is over, the landlord must send a notification to the tenant about the amount of the security deposit that is due. If the tenant doesn’t reply within 60 days, the landlord can keep the deposit.
The landlord can keep a portion of the security deposit for the damages only if they are discovered within 30 days after the tenant has moved out of the property or within 7 days from the moment the new tenant moves in. (§ 66-28-301)
When is Rent Due in Tennessee? (Grace Period)
In most cases, the due date is previously determined by the landlord and the tenant and marked down in the lease agreement.
The state of Tennessee provides a 5-day grace period for the rent payment. If the 5th day falls on a Sunday or legal holiday, the grace period is extended until the next business day. (§ 66-28-201(d))
During the grace period, the landlord cannot charge the late fees, nor can they initiate the eviction.
Tennessee Rent Late Fees
The late rent payment fee in Tennessee cannot exceed 10% of the rent amount. (§ 66-28-201(d))
Any late fee must be disclosed in the lease agreement to be legally charged to the tenant.
Tennessee NSF Checks
If the tenant uses the bad check to pay the rent, the landlord can claim the check amount plus the processing fee of no more than $30. (§ 47-29-102)
Tennessee Landlord’s Right to Enter
In case of an emergency, the landlord can access the leased property without giving prior notice to the tenant.
In other cases, however, Tennessee law doesn’t require the landlord to issue a notice to the tenant. In practice, many landlords would issue at least a 24-hour notice before entering the leased unit.
Tennessee Lease Agreement FAQ
Yes, the lease agreement is a legally binding contract in Tennessee.
The lease agreement is considered fully valid and legally binding if both parties sign it.
If the tenant doesn’t sign the lease agreement but moves in and pays the rent, both parties will be bound to a month-to-month tenancy. The same happens when the landlord doesn’t sign the lease agreement but accepts the rent payment. (§ 66-28-202)
The lease agreement for a property in Tennessee should have the following outline:
Names and addresses of contractual parties
Information about the leased property
Term of the lease and maximum occupancy
Rent amount and the due date
Disclosure of any late or non-refundable fees
Mandatory disclosures provided by federal and state law
Optional disclosures provided by contractual parties
Rights and duties of the landlord and the tenant
Rules about the lease agreement termination
Date and place of the lease agreement signature
Signatures of the landlord and the tenant
Depending on the duration and type of your lease, you can simply download one of the many professional lease agreement templates available on our website.
You can choose between:
Commercial and residential lease agreement
Long-term and month-to-month lease agreement
Sublease and room rental lease agreement
Rent-to-own lease agreement
After creating the Tennessee lease agreement, you should inspect the leased property, sign the move-in form, and complete all the move-in procedures.
Both the landlord and the tenant should inspect the property. They should make sure there are no damages that need to be repaired. If everything is in order, they should sign the move-in form that will later be compared with the property's condition after the lease is over.
Finally, the tenant should pay the first month’s rent and security deposit, and the landlord should hand over the keys to the leased property.