Law FAQ: What are the duties of landlords under Tennessee law?
A frequent question that clients ask is what obligations does their landlord owe to them. Tennessee has adopted an act referred to as URLTA (“Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act”) that is limited to certain counties in Tennessee, including Davidson and Shelby counties, and that only applies to residential leases. While URLTA includes many detailed provisions, the most common problems stem from inadequate maintenance by landlords.
Under URLTA, a landlord must do the following:
- Comply with requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
- Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
- Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition; and
- In multi-unit complexes of four (4) or more units, provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste from common points of collection.
Tenants should also note that URLTA allows the landlord and tenant to make a written agreement where the tenant agrees to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, and remodeling. While such an agreement cannot be made by the landlord to escape the above obligations, it does allow the tenant to have a degree of control over how such maintenance is performed.
If your landlord fails to do any of the above, you should immediately give him/her written notice of the URLTA violation. Depending on how your landlord responds, you should then consider contacting an attorney for legal guidance. There are various remedies available to tenants when landlords fail to meet the above obligations. Our firm handles a wide variety of such issues. If you feel that your landlord has violated URLTA, please give us a call.
To read find out more about URLTA, its provisions can be found in T.C.A. § 66-28-101 et seq.
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