Tennessee law establishes specific procedure a landlord must follow to lawfully evict a tenant. 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. Before you start the eviction process, you must take time to familiarize yourself with the basics of Tennessee eviction law.
Obtain a standard form notice of lease violation. Examples of lease violation include non-payment of rent or damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear. Under Tennessee law the notice gives the tenant 30 days to correct the lease violation (pay the rent, for example) or vacate the premises.
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.
Obtain a standard form petition for eviction from the clerk of the general sessions court. Tennessee law requires the filing of eviction cases in the general sessions court. The clerk typically maintains an array of different forms, including an eviction petition, for people who do not have legal representation.
Complete the standard for petition for eviction. 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.
File the petition with the clerk of the general sessions court.
Request the clerk to direct the sheriff to serve the petition on the tenant.
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.