What does the law in TN say regarding a tenant breaking a year lease?

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What does the law in TN say regarding a tenant breaking a year lease?

Asked on May 29, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, a tenant is bound to the length of the lease unless the landlord significantly breaks the law or violates its terms -- for example, by failing to make necessary repairs, or by failing to comply with an important lease clause. 

A few states have laws that allow tenants to break a lease because of health problems or a job relocation that requires a permanent move.  Federal law and many similar state laws allow tenants who enter active military service and related government positions to terminate a lease early.  On brief inspection of the applicable statutes I did not find this to be the case under Tennessee law.

A tenant who breaks a lease without good cause will be responsible for the remaining rent due under the lease term.  However, a landlord has a legal duty to mitigate damages by using reasonable efforts to try to find a new tenant -- no matter what the tenant's reason for leaving -- rather than charge the tenant for the total remaining rent due under the lease.

If you have a disagreement with your tenant, you may be able to use mediation to resolve the problem, or you may take your tenant to small-claims court.

The above is based on a quick review of the law, for a more comprehensive response you would need to speak with an attorney in your area.


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