2022 Legislation Article 4874-4073-4237
The Tennessee Apartment Association Board of Directors voted to pursue two pieces of legislation during the 2022 legislative session. Both bills passed with overwhelming support and have become law.
The Tennessee General Assembly passed House Bill 2443 by Representative Andrew Farmer (R - Sevierville) and its Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 1994 by Senator Mike Bell (R - Riceville), now Public Chapter 817, relative to eviction judgement appeals. The legislation became law upon receiving the Governor’s signature with an effective date of April 8, 2022.
Under previous law, in cases where an action has been brought by a landlord to recover possession of leased premises from a tenant on the grounds that the tenant has breached the contract by failing to pay rent, if the tenant appeals the judgment, then the tenant must execute a bond, post a cash deposit or irrevocable letter of credit from a financial institution, or provide two good personal sureties with sufficient security in the amount of one-year's rent.
Public Chapter 817 extends the applicability of the above provision to all appeals by a tenant, instead of only those based on a landlord's action to recover possession of leased premises from a tenant on the grounds that the tenant has breached the contract by failing to pay the rent.
Additionally, the Tennessee General Assembly passed Senate Bill 2002 also by Senator Mike Bell (R - Riceville) and its House Companion bill, House Bill 1730 by Representative Michael Curcio (R - Dickson), not yet assigned a public chapter number, relative to the postponement of trial. The legislation was signed by the Governor and became effective on April 14, 2022.
Under previous law governing forcible entry and detainer, the general sessions judge may, at the request of either party, and on good reason being assigned, postpone the trial to any time not exceeding 15 days. The postponement may not be for a longer period of time unless agreed upon by the parties, no civil court is being conducted, or upon request of the plaintiff, the party making the application for postponement paying the costs.
As passed, Senate Bill 2002 specifies that "civil court", for purposes of the above provision, includes diversionary courts created for special civil proceedings.
The intent of the legislation is to remove unnecessary and ineffective barriers for landlords and management companies during the eviction process. These bills maintain a balanced approach to protecting the tenant’s rights while preserving the landlord’s ability to swiftly regain control of a unit when a breach of contract has occurred.