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You are absolutely correct. When there is no lease and whether or not you are paying rent, you are legally considered an "at will" tenant, which is treated legally as a month to month tenancy. As such, under Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-28-512,, they must give you at least 30 days written notice to terminate your tenancy. Then, if you don't leave, the law does not allow them to forcibly evict you without obtaining an eviction order from a court. What that means is that if termination date comes and you do not move out, they cannot simply change the locks or throw your things out. Rather, what they have to do is to first deliver a 10-Day Notice to quit...which basically says you have 10 days to leave or face eviction. But, if you still don't leave, they must then file an unlawful detainer petition with the court for an eviction order. Depending upon the court's docket, it can take anywhere from about 15 days to a couple of months to get a hearing. Only when a judge has issued the eviction order can the landlord have the tenant evicted.
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