What Can I Do If My Tenant Breaches a Lease Agreement?

A lease is a legally binding contract between a landlord and tenant. A tenant can break their lease agreement if the reason is ‘legally justified.’ However, there are some situations in which breaking a lease is entirely unjustifiable. How do you determine which situations call for legal action?

Tennessee Tenant Laws

Generally, if a tenant breaks the terms of their lease, they owe the landlord the entirety of the money agreed upon in the rental terms. However, a landlord must make a reasonable attempt to find a new tenant if someone breaks their lease.

When a tenant breaks a lease, the landlord can legally seek:

  1. property damages;
  2. back rent; and
  3. reimbursement for attorney fees.

A landlord is allowed to withhold a tenant’s security deposit if they break the rental contract without a justifiable reason for doing so.

Justifiable Reasons for Breaking a Lease

There are instances when breaking a lease is justifiable. When this occurs, there are no legal or financial penalties.

For example, a tenant can break a lease if:

  1. the landlord is harassing them (landlord harassment is an attempt to pressure a tenant using aggressive methods);
  2. the landlord violates tenant privacy rights (a landlord cannot enter a residence without first giving 24-hour notice. If a landlord repeatedly violates this right, the tenant is considered constructively evicted and could break the lease without notice); or
  3. the tenant has started active military duty (The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allows certain military members to break a lease if they receive a change of station order).

Patton | Pittman Attorneys Can Help!

If you are a landlord dealing with a tenant who has unjustifiably broken their lease, we can help you pursue the rent owed to you. Our landlord & tenant dispute attorneys will do everything possible to get the money rightfully owed to you.

Call our firm today at (931) 361-4477 or contact us online for your FREE case evaluation.

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