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How do I avoid an illegal eviction of a tenant?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2023 | Real Estate

As a landlord, you have enough on your plate with property management, addressing tenant complaints and keeping any utilities paid. Sooner or later, you’ll have to deal with one of the hardest parts of the job: eviction. 

In Tennessee, a landlord may give a tenant up to 30 days to leave the property for rent nonpayment or lease violation before evicting them. That said, you need to make sure you have a valid reason for carrying out the eviction process. Below are three reasons you should not use when evicting your tenant(s).

Do not evict tenants to “get even” with them

Suppose a tenant has been complaining to you about a problem in their apartment that you weren’t able to resolve to their satisfaction quickly enough. Your tenant then takes the issue up with the local health department. In this scenario, any threat of eviction could be seen as retaliatory, like you’re punishing the tenant for exercising their rights.

You cannot evict a tenant for any discriminatory reason

Federal Fair Housing laws prevent discrimination based on these characteristics:

  • Sex
  • Disability
  • Color
  • Race
  • Familial status
  • National origin
  • Religion

Tennessee has its own laws regarding protected classes such as an individual’s source of income. To elaborate, you cannot evict someone just because they’re part of a tenant union or organization. 

You need to avoid “self-help” eviction methods 

In other words, don’t throw your tenant’s possessions out of the building, change locks or commit other actions that constitute landlord harassment. If you do need to evict a tenant, go through formal channels so that you have the law on your side.

Has a tenant accused you of unfair or discriminatory eviction? It’s probably time to seek legal guidance to aid you in your situation.