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


Home Sales Increase In April In Chattanooga

Home sales increased in April in Chattanooga, according to a report from the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors.   The report said, "As we turn the page to the second quarter of 2015, a proliferation of new  listings is expected in most markets across the U.S. Spring is traditionally the  commonplace time of the year that we see some of the most desirable ... (click for more)

Georgia Real Estate Investor Pleads Guilty To Bid Rigging And Fraud Conspiracies At Public Foreclosure Auctions

A Georgia real estate investor pleaded guilty on Tuesday for his role in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Georgia, the Department of Justice announced. Felony charges against Eric Hulsman were filed on March 27, in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta. According to court documents, from ... (click for more)

Woman, 25, Dies From Wreck On Barton Avenue

A 25-year-old woman has died from injuries received in a head-on accident on Barton Avenue in North Chattanooga on Saturday. The victim was Stephanie Kilburn . At approximately 2:25 p.m. , the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 800 Barton Ave. on an accident with injuries. V ehicle 1 was traveling southbound on Barton Avenue and failed to stop at a stop ... (click for more)

City Seeking Grant To Improve Signals At 32 Intersections

The city is seeking a $2 million federal grant to go along with $500,000 in city funds for a project to improve signals at 32 intersections. There would also be bike and pedestrian improvements. The routes include Brainerd Road, Lee Highway, Shallowford Road, Gunbarrel Road and Hamilton Place Boulevard. The application is for a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Grant. (click for more)

Memorial Auditorium Flag Disgrace

How can it be that Memorial Auditorium, which was built to honor soldiers and sailors, displays our country’s flag in such a disgraceful manner?  Out of six poles on the front of the building only two battered flags remain.  Additionally, two old banners are attached to the wall that have long ago faded and look like they’ve seen better days. This is not acceptable ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Buy Ping Golf Clubs

As we set the charcoal, ice the drinks and prepare for Memorial Day, the first thing on my mind is to ask any golfers within my reach to consider buying and playing with Ping-brand golf clubs. Pings are made in America but there is a little something else you need to know, as told in an email I received earlier this week. I regret I do not know the author: * * * “On Monday, ... (click for more)