A writ of possession in Tennessee is an order issued by a Tennessee court that permits an owner to recover personal property. A writ of possession is most commonly used to evict and remove tenants from rented property. Writs of possession for real property during landlord-tenant disputes are issued after a landlord wins an judgment against a tenant, most often after the landlord has sued the tenant for "unlawful detainer." Unlawful detainer means that a person who has lawfully taken possession of a property, such as a house or apartment, is now in unlawful possession of the property.
Writs of Possession During the Eviction Process
Writs of possession in Tennessee are part of the eviction process. The eviction process in Tennessee varies slightly from county to county, but regulations governing writs of possession work in a similar manner throughout the state. After a landlord successfully sues a tenant in court and wins the right to evict, the landlord will be issued a writ of possession, which gives him the right to physically remove the tenant from his property.
Bond Requirements for Landlords
After the writ of possession is awarded to a landlord in Tennessee, the landlord is required to post a bond, called a plaintiff's bond, before the court issues the legal writ of possession [T.C.A. § 29-18-111.]. This is to provide security in case of damages or wrongful prosecution.
Waiting Periods During Eviction
A landlord must wait 10 days in Tennessee before attempting to execute the writ of possession on the tenant [T.C.A. § 29-18-126]. This gives the tenant time to respond to the writ. Either party can appeal the writ of possession during the 10-day waiting period. The party that files the appeal must post a plaintiff's bond.
Execution of the Writ During Eviction
After 10 days, the landlord can execute the writ of possession and evict the tenant. The landlord can also give the sheriff the writ and have the sheriff remove the tenant from the property.
Expedited Writs of Possession
Writs of possession can be expedited for a number of reasons in Tennessee including immediate danger, use of the property for hazardous purposes, fraud, theft or if there is no substantial controversy about the facts in the case [T.C.A. § 29-30-106].
Writs of Possession for Personal Property in Tennessee
Writs of possession for personal property are less common than evictions but follow the same general rules. Writs of possession are awarded by the court and can be executed by the owner of the property, or by an agent of law enforcement such as the sheriff. Writs can be expedited on personal property that is perishable or time-sensitive.