State Supreme Court Clarifies Bond Requirements For Landlord-Tenant Actions

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a tenant seeking to appeal a court decision regarding possession of a rental unit is not required to post a bond equal to a year’s rent if that tenant no longer occupies the property.

The case concerns a landlord and tenant arrangement in Nashville. The landlords sought to regain possession of the premises and obtain a judgment for unpaid rent by filing an unlawful detainer warrant in Davidson County General Sessions Court. An unlawful detainer action filed by a landlord seeks to remove a tenant who has failed to abide by the terms of a lease or other agreement giving the tenant possession of the property.

The General Sessions Court granted the landlords’ request for possession and awarded $42,500 in monetary damages for rent and attorney’s fees. The tenants had vacated the property in question the day prior to the court’s decision.

The tenants then appealed the decision to the Circuit Court, posting a $250 cost bond. The landlords sought dismissal of the appeal on the grounds that the tenants were required by law to post bond in an amount equal to one year’s rent. The tenants disagreed, noting they were no longer in possession of the property.

The trial court denied the landlords’ motion to dismiss and the Court of Appeals declined to hear the case. The landlords then appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court said today that the plain language of the law does not require a tenant who has surrendered possession of the property to post a bond for one year’s rent when the tenant is appealing an unfavorable judgment in an unlawful detainer action based on the tenant’s failure to pay rent. The bond secures funds to cover rent, costs and damages while the tenant remains in possession of the property during the appeal. If the tenant is not in possession, the law makes the bond unnecessary, said the Court in its Opinion.

To read the unanimous opinion in Edith Johnson et al. v. Mark C. Hopkins et al. authored by Justice Cornelia A. Clark, visit the Opinions section of

Potts Brothers Has Onsite Auction In Lafayette Nov. 19

Potts Brothers Land and Auction will host an onsite auction Saturday, Nov. 19, at 10 a.m. Online bidding will be available for real estate only.  The auction will be for a three-bedroom brick home, 105+/- acres and personal property.  The land will be sold in tracts or as a whole.  The location is 6446 Straight Gut Road, selling Clarence and Celia Hunt ... (click for more)

Real Estate Transfers For Oct. 13-19

NOTICE: The Hamilton County Register’s Office did not publish this data. All information in the Register’s Office is public information as set out in T.C.A. 10-7-503. For questions regarding this report, please call at 423 266-2325. GI numbers, listed when street addresses are not available, refer to the location of transactions (book number and page number) ... (click for more)

In Surprise Vote, Chattanooga City Council Turns Down Short Term Vacation Rentals

In a surprise vote, the City Council on Tuesday night turned down allowing a process to legalize short term vacation rentals in Chattanooga. Only Chip Henderson and Jerry Mitchell voted in favor. Opposed were Carol Berz, Yusuf Hakeem, Larry Grohn, Moses Freeman, Ken Smith and Russell Gilbert. Chris Anderson was absent. Afterward, Councilman Smith said, in light of the vote, ... (click for more)

Cold Case Unit Makes Arrest In Murders Of Brothers In Brainerd Almost 20 Years Ago; Detectives Say Brainerd Jeweler Rick Davis Tied To Incident

The Cold Case Unit set up by District Attorney Neal Pinkston has made an arrest in the murders of two brothers in Brainerd almost 20 years ago. The Hamilton County Grand Jury on Monday indicted 52-year-old Christopher Jeffre Johnson on two counts of first-degree murder in the January 1997 deaths of Sean and Donny Goetcheus. The 25-year-old Sean Goetcheus and his ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Picture a sold-out baseball game at Wrigley Field or Nationals Park packed with 40,000 fans. That image represents roughly the same number of women and men who die from breast cancer each year.  In Tennessee alone, an estimated 900 women will die from the disease in 2016. It is a sad statistic, but there is some good news: thanks to early detection and improved treatments, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saving A Life & More

About 40 years ago I was at an afternoon football practice when one of those who was also watching from the fence was bitten by a bumble bee or yellow jacket or whatever it was and almost died from anaphylactic shock. Luckily an athletic trainer had an EpiPen, jammed it into the man’s thigh and it is believed to have saved the victim’s life. For years I kept an EpiPen on the top ... (click for more)