FAQs for Memphis and Shelby County Evictions
- Click here to go to the Landlord Resource Center
The Landlord Resource Center contains links for tenant background checks, court records, and more.
- I’m ready to file an eviction, how can I get started?
In most cases, I can file the eviction and get the process started within 24 hours.
- Can we finish the case on the first court date?
Learn about the local rules and what they provide for each party in an eviction case
- Do I have to have a witness present if the Tenant does not show?
Learn how hearsay can work to prevent you from succeeding in court without a live witness.
- What if the Tenant moves out after the case and the damages exceed the security deposit?
Learn about the issues a Landlord faces when taking too small of a security deposit.
- Can I file the case if I’m not the property owner?
The case must be filed in the name of the actual owner, but others can assist through the use of an attorney.
- Is there a map of the Shelby County Courthouse?
Click above for a map of the first floor showing the General Sessions Court Divisions
- Can I tow this vehicle off of my property?
Your ability to tow a vehicle depends on the vehicle classification.
- Can I accept late money after filing an eviction case?
Learn whether accepting late money after filing an eviction case will waive the landlord’s right to terminate.
- What if the Tenant does not leave after the court gave me possession?
Learn the extra steps required by the court when a Tenant refuses to leave after a judgment becomes final.
- What are my responsibilities with the personal property set outside from the writ?
A Memphis ordinance governs the disposal of personal property removed pursuant an eviction.
- What am I required to do with the Tenant’s security deposit?
The law is very specific regarding the deposit – see the statute here.
- Is my Tenant going to get me cited by Code Enforcement?
As the Landlord, you could be sent to Environmental Court for Tenant neglect.
- What should I do if I suspect that my Tenant is dealing drugs?
Learn about Shelby County’s Drug Dealer Eviction Program.
- What is the next step after getting possession in court?
This link goes into detail about the specifics of obtaining a Writ of Possession
- Where can I learn more information about Section 8 Housing?
Think long and hard about whether you want to get into this!
The Eviction Process in Shelby County Tennessee
Step One: Notice (if required by the lease)
A landlord begins the eviction process by serving the tenant with an eviction notice. In Shelby County, a 30 Day Notice is required unless the lease contains an explicit waiver of notice. The 30 Day Notice must provide 14 days to redeem the tenancy to avoid termination of the lease. In rare situations involving serious damage or violations of health or safety, the landlord can serve the tenant with a 3 Day Notice to Vacate. All notices should be sent by certified mail and the landlord should keep a copy.
Step Two: Filing and Serving the Detainer Warrant
After proper notice, the landlord files a detainer warrant in the Shelby County General Sessions Court, which is located at 140 Adams Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, 38103. The filing fee is $99.50, plus an additional $28.00 for service of process by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. Some landlords prefer to use a private process server for quicker service. The process server will deliver the Detainer Warrant to the tenant, giving the time and place for the hearing. If the tenant is not served, the landlord can only recover legal possession without money damages.
Step Three: Going to Court
On the initial setting, either party is entitled to a reset. Often, the tenant will request a continuance on the first setting and the matter will be reset approximately two weeks. If all parties wish to proceed on the initial setting, the judge will hold a hearing to determine which party is entitled to possession and/or damages. If the landlord is present but the tenant does not appear, the landlord will obtain a default judgment. The landlord must be present to testify regarding the rent arrearage, any damages, and the amount of the security deposit. The landlord should also bring a copy of the eviction notice, rent receipts, photographs of damage, witnesses, etc. If the landlord presents a lease that contains a provision for attorney’s fees and collection costs, the landlord will also receive these amounts.
If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant will have 10 days to vacate the premises. During these 10 days, the tenant can appeal the judgment. If they appeal, another hearing will be held in Circuit Court. Tenant appeals are rare because a considerable bond is required.
Step Four: Sheriff Removal
In some cases, the tenant does not automatically leave within 10 days. When this occurs, the landlord must file a Writ of Possession for the Sheriff to physically remove the tenant and the tenant’s belongings against their will.
The landlord must be certain during all steps to proceed lawfully or the tenant may be able to recover punitive damages against the landlord. For more description of this step, click here.