Whether it is real estate or rent estate, there is no doubt the housing market in Nashville is booming. A recent Tennessean article notes that an astounding one-third of Nashville-area residents are renters. Moving forward, there would be a huge influx of landlord/tenant agreements entering our court system if any problems should arise.
That being said, before you lease any more properties, these are things you should know as a landlord in Tennessee.
- A landlord must disclose to the tenant, in writing, the names and addresses of the landlord and any agents of the landlord, if applicable. An agent is classified a person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on the landlord’s behalf and manage the premises. See T.C.A. 66-28-302.
- In Davidson County, landlords must register with the Codes Department annually and pay a $10.00 fee.
- If a tenant is late on rent, landlords may charge a late fee not to exceed ten percent (10%) of the amount past due. Landlords may effectively charge this late fee once the rent is five (5) days late.
- If a tenant has an unexplained or extended absence from the property for thirty days without payment of rent, landlords may consider the property abandoned.
- Unless otherwise stated in the lease agreement, a landlord has right of entry into the premises for routine maintenance when appropriate notice to the tenant is given.
- If there is an emergency in the house or on the property, the landlord has right of entry at any time to resolve the problem.
- There is no statutory limit on how much you, as a landlord, can charge for a security deposit.
- However, there is a requirement the landlord return the security deposit within thirty (30) days of termination of the lease.
- Before returning the security deposit, be sure to itemize any deductions and provide tenants with a copy of the list with clear indication of the amount they are to receive back.
- If the damage to property is extensive (i.e., the security deposit does not cover the damage), small claims court is likely the proper place to take up this matter. Landlords should make sure to document all damages with photos and costs of repair before taking the matter to court.
Here at the Collins Legal, our attorneys represent landlords across middle Tennessee who have experienced stress and monetary loss because of a poorly structured rental agreement. As you move forward with your leasing ventures as a landlord, we hope that you will be able to better identify potential trouble spots with tenants.