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 TNCourts.gov



Brant Mason Selected As Habitat For Humanity's Chief Financial Officer

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga Area, a faith based non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the Chattanooga area by working with financial partners and volunteers to build simple, decent and affordable homes for working families, announced the addition of Brant Mason to its leadership team as chief financial officer. Mr. Mason is a Certified Public ... (click for more)

Real Estate Transfers For April 12-18

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 Chattanoogan.com 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)

McCallie Coach From 90s Who Is Now Deceased Is Accused Of Abusing Students

A McCallie School coach from the 1990s who is now deceased is being accused of abusing students at the private prep school. Two former students said Steven Lee "Steve" Carpenter sexually abused them. Carpenter was the basketball coach at McCallie for 11 seasons - through 1999. He was boys basketball coach at Ridgeland High School beginning in 2000. Carpenter was ... (click for more)

Famed Radio Broadcaster Tommy Jett Dies At 77 At His Flintstone Home

Legendary radio broadcaster Tommy Jett (Thomas Wayne Reynolds) died Wednesday in his sleep at his residence in Flintstone, Ga.   He was 77. The native of Smithville, Tn., first was heard on Chattanooga radio in 1961 when he joined WFLI. He was known for his gaudy rings and his "Hey Now" greeting. He switched to country on WDOD in the 1980s and later was on "The Legend" ... (click for more)

Pluses And Minuses Of Tennessee's New Opioid Law

It was clear when Governor Haslam announced his TN Together plan in January that lawmakers were going to do something to try to address the state’s opioid abuse epidemic. With the passage of SB 2257/HB 1831, Tennessee now has one of the most comprehensive and restrictive laws of any state.   The Tennessee Medical Association was actively engaged in the process and appreciates ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘We’ll Lose The Senate!’

A guy who I admire and respect wrote me yesterday. He had just read my story defending Bob Corker for honoring “The Code” due to his true friendship with Phil Bredesen. He is also no stranger to my vivid dislike of the Republican choice to replace Corker in the Senate. Marsha Blackburn is no match against Bredesen on any tier and it is clearly the Republican Party itself that has ... (click for more)