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Roger, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 31765
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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I own a property in Tennessee that is currently being leased

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I own a property in Tennessee that is currently being leased under a month-to-month holdover clause from a previous year-long lease. The tenant has not paid a late fee owed from June and had refused via email pay this month's rent. She is stating that repairs have not been made, but has refused to cooperate with contractors to diagnose the problem (a rather mysterious water leak that only seems to happen occasionally). I have given 30 days notice stating that the month-to-month lease will not be renewed. However, I am concerned about recouping the lost rent now that it is half-way through the month and the 30 days notice takes us into the middle of September. Tenant has given no written notice of needed repairs and two professional contractors have been in the home and can testify to the fact that it is habitable and that attempts to diagnose and repair the problem have been made.

Must I wait the 30 days to get this tenant out of my property, or is there some provision that would allow me to evict her more quickly given her written email refusal to pay?

Thank you for your help.
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Real Estate litigation attorney in Tennessee. Thanks for using JA! I'll be glad to assist you.

The short answer is NO, you don't have to wait 30 days to remove the tenant if she's delinquent with her rent. Instead, you must give her a 3 day written notice to pay the rent current or vacate, and if she doesn't do either after the 3 day notice period expires, you would then have the right to sue her in general sessions court for possession and for any unpaid rent, late fees, etc. that she has amassed.

Her claims about repairs, etc. are likely unfounded. In order to legally withhold rent in Tennessee, the tenant must give you notice in writing of SERIOUS issues that need repair - - these are usually things that are required to make the property inhabitable. Here's a good article you can read: Since this hasn't happened, her claims that she's withholding rent due to a minor water leak likely isn't legally justified.

Thus, all you should have to do is issue a 3 day notice to pay or quit, and if she doesn't pay up and or vacate, you can file an unlawful detainer action in general sessions court and seek an order of possession and a judgment for any unpaid rent or fees.
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