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


Board Delays Action On Choo Choo Plan To Convert 97 Hotel Rooms To Apartments

The city Health, Education and Housing Facility Board delayed action Friday on a plan by the Chattanooga Choo to convert 97 of its hotel rooms to apartments. The board is set to meet on a PILOT agreement for the project later. The PILOT is for 12  years with a four-year phase-in period (20 percent each year). The project is in Building 2.   (click for more)

S&ME To Acquire Littlejohn

S&ME, Inc., a Raleigh-based engineering, environmental and construction services company, announced its intent to purchase Littlejohn, a Nashville-based planning, engineering and environmental design firm.  Both S&ME and Littlejohn have offices in Chattanooga. The two privately owned firms have complementary services, geographic markets and work cultures. By joining ... (click for more)

3 Members Of Family Suffer Minor Injuries In Propane Gas Explosion At House In Hixson

Three members of a family were injured in a propane gas explosion at a house in Hixson on Sunday afternoon. At 2:45 p.m. , neighbors living on Crabtree Road heard a loud explosion.  A 911 call was made by the homeowner reporting a gas explosion at 1714 Crabtree Road. The Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department responded and arrived reporting heavy smoke. Firefighters ... (click for more)

Police Say Hixson Woman In Body Armor Fires At 2 Vehicles; Points Gun At Motorists, Officer

Police said a woman dressed in body armor was finally taken into custody on Friday afternoon after she fired at two vehicles and pointed her gun at other motorists as well as a police officer. At approximately 3:52 p.m., the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 1300 Cloverdale Dr. for shots fired. O fficers located two victims who said they were at a stop sign when ... (click for more)

Our Government Is Not Broken

A recent Fox News poll indicated two thirds of Americans think their government is broken. That's not good for America because in reality our form and system of government has generally worked very well. Even recently, our system of government has produced some very good results.   Consider some of the following:  1. Winding down long expensive wars in Afghanistan ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 5 Lessons Taught In 2014

In mid-December, the geniuses at CNN aired a special about “Extraordinary People.” It showcased five of those who walk among us and what they did that was pretty special in 2014. From that program, writer Brandon Griggs has identified five traits that any of us can use as directional signs when the New Year blooms this Thursday. Brandon writes that, while the five people chosen ... (click for more)