Tennessee law includes directions on the type of notice you must use to commence the eviction process as well as procedures for pursuing an actual eviction lawsuit. The failure to follow the letter of the law prevents you from successfully evicting a tenant. Self-eviction is evicting someone without a court order.
Several types of eviction notices exist with varying time frames contingent on the urgency and reason for eviction. An Immediate Notice to Quit is immediate for drug or prostitution violations. A 3-Day Notice to Quit give a tenant three days to remedy illegal behavior with imminent threat or vacate. Failure to pay rent gives landlords a 14-Day Notice to Quit. The last is a 30-Day Notice to Quit for non-compliance or tenants on a month-to-month lease.
Notify tenant of breach in writing, naming the tenants specifically on the notice. Provide a copy of the lease, citing the violation. Depending on the type of eviction noted above, identify the intent. No standard form is provided online by Tennessee courts, but there are several resources to assist writing the notice.
Deliver the notice to the tenant. Personal delivery is preferred. If you fail to connect with the tenant personally, post the notice on the main entrance to the rental property and send it via certified mail to confirm receipt.
Complete the Action to Recover Personal Property form. Include your name, the name and address of the tenant and the reason for the desired eviction. Include the date the original notice to correct a lease violation was delivered to the tenant. Note that the tenant did not comply and correct the lease violation or vacate the premises.
Obtain a General Sessions court date. Give notice to the tenant regarding impending court date. Other than notice, leave the tenant alone and let the court process work itself out.
Attend the eviction trial. The eviction trial cannot be held any earlier than six days after the service of the petition on the tenant, according to Tennessee law. The court can allow one 15-day continuance (postponement) of the case.
Present your evidence at the trial supporting your contention the tenant violated the lease terms. Evidence includes documents and witnesses. If you prevail at the trial, the court orders the eviction of the tenant.
Obtain a Detainer Warrant from the county general sessions court where evictions are heard. Some counties like Knox County, have forms online while others require going to the clerk to obtain them. Serve the tenant with the warrant from the Sheriff's Department.