Non-URLTA Renters

What is the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (URLTA)?

URLTA, sometimes called the Landlord-Tenant Act, is a law that places additional responsibilities on landlords in urban counties. These Responsibilities include providing safe and healthy rentals to their tenants. 


Which counties does URLTA apply to? 

URLTA applies to counties in Tennessee that have a population of more than 75,000 residents. Currently, the only counties covered by URLTA are Anderson, Blount, Bradley, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Maury, Montgomery, Rutherford, Sevier, Shelby, Sullivan, Sumner, Washington, Williamson, and Wilson. 


What are my rights as a renter if I live in a non-URLTA county?

  1. You have the right to the quiet enjoyment and the right to live peacefully in your rental. This means that the landlord cannot harass you, lock you out, throw away your belongings, or shut off your electricity. Also, unless it is an emergency, the landlord cannot enter your rental without your permission. 
  2. You have the right to not be discriminated against or treated differently because of your race, color, nationality, sex, religion, familial status, or disability. 
  3. You have a right to inspect the unit for problems before you sign a lease, If the rental needs repairs and you have not yet signed a lease, make a list of the needed repairs and date it. have the landlord sign the list promising to make the repairs.
  4. You have a right to make reasonable changes to the rental if you have a disability that requires it. You are responsible for paying for these changes. 
  5. You have a right to stay in the rental until the lease ends or until the landlord gets a court order to evict you. 

What are my responsibilities as a renter if I live in a non-URLTA county?

  1. You must do what the lease says, so read it carefully and make sure you are following all the rules and requirements listed. If you agree to any changes in the lease or make any additional agreements, you should get these agreements in writing and signed by the landlord in case you need to prove these agreements were made later. 
  2. You must pay your rent on time and in the manner specified in the lease, You cannot withhold your rent for non-repairs or other problems with your landlord.
  3. You must leave the rental in as good of shape as when you moved in. It's a good idea to take pictures of the inside and outside of the rental once all your things are moved out to prove the condition you left the property in. 
  4. You must get any changes to the lease or agreements in writing. 

What are my landlord's responsibilities if I live in a non-URLTA County? 

  1. Your landlord is responsible for making sure the rental is in a safe condition when you move in. This means the rental should adhere to any health codes. The plumbing should work, electrical wiring should be safe, the building structure should be sound to keep out weather, and any appliances that come with the rental must work. 
  2. The landlord is responsible for keeping areas that everyone uses safe if you live in a duplex or apartment complex. 
  3. The landlord is responsible for fixing emergency problems immediately. 
  4. The landlord must notify you in the event your rent is raised before your lease ends. 

What can I do if my landlord does not fulfill his/her responsibilities? 

If the rental is not in a safe condition before you have signed the lease, do not sign it until the landlord gives you a promise in writing to repair the issues immediately.

If you have already signed the lease and the landlord is not fulfilling their responsibilities, you have a few options. You can call the county health department and ask the building inspector to check your rental to see if it is safe and livable. This option is only available to people who pay less than $200 in rent a week, who are paid up on rent, and who file a written complaint about the problems.

If you think you have been discriminated against, call the Tennessee Human Rights Commission at (800) 325-9664, or call the Department of Housing and Urban Development at (800) 440-8091.

If you need legal help, call your local legal aid office.

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