You should carefully read the lease agreement to determine the tenant's and landlord's rights and obligations regarding terminating the lease.
The applicable Tennessee statutes are as follows:
66-28-201. Terms and conditions.
(a) The landlord and tenant may include in a rental agreement, terms
and conditions not prohibited by this chapter or other rule of law
including rent, term of the agreement, and other provisions governing the
rights and obligations of parties. A rental agreement cannot provide that
the tenant agrees to waive or forego rights or remedies under this
chapter. The landlord or the landlord's agent shall advise in writing
that the landlord is not responsible for, and will not provide, fire or
casualty insurance for the tenant's personal property.
(b) In absence of a lease agreement, the tenant shall pay the
reasonable value for the use and occupancy of the dwelling unit.
(c) Rent shall be payable without demand at the time and place agreed
upon by the parties. Notice is specifically waived upon the nonpayment of
rent by the tenant only if such a waiver is provided for in a written
rental agreement. Unless otherwise agreed, rent is payable at the
dwelling unit and periodic rent is payable at the beginning of any term
of one (1) month or less and otherwise in equal monthly installments at
the beginning of each month. Upon agreement, rent shall be uniformly
apportionable from day to day.
(d) There shall be a five-day grace period between the day the rent was
due and the day a fee for the late payment of rent may be charged. If the
last day of the five-day grace period occurs on a Saturday, Sunday or
legal holiday, as defined in § 15-1-101, the landlord shall not impose
any charge or fee for the late payment of rent, provided that the rent is
paid on the next business day. Any charge or fee, however described, which
is charged by the landlord for the late payment of rent shall not exceed
ten percent (10%) of the amount of rent past due.
(e)(1) No charge or fee for the late payment of rent due from a tenant
in a public housing project shall exceed five dollars ($5.00) per month.
No late charge or fee shall be assessed such tenant unless more than
fifteen (15) days have elapsed since the rent was due.
(2) The provisions of this subsection (e) shall apply only to counties
with a population between two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) and three
hundred thousand (300,000) according to the 1980 federal census or any
subsequent federal census.
66-28-305. Limitation of landlord's liability.
Unless otherwise agreed, a landlord who conveys premises that include a
dwelling unit subject to a rental agreement in a good faith sale to a
bona fide purchaser, landlord or agent, or both, is relieved of liability
under the rental agreement and this chapter as to events occurring
subsequent to written notice to the tenant of the conveyance and transfer
of the security deposit to the bona fide purchaser.
66-28-501. Noncompliance with rental agreement by landlord.
(a) Except as provided in this chapter, the tenant may recover
damages, obtain injunctive relief and recover reasonable attorney's fees
for any noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or any
section of this chapter upon giving fourteen (14) days' written notice.
(b) If the rental agreement is terminated for noncompliance after
sufficient notice, the landlord shall return all prepaid rent and
security deposits recoverable by the tenant under § 66-28-301.
66-28-504. Unlawful ouster, exclusion, or diminution of service.
If the landlord unlawfully removes or excludes the tenant from the
premises or willfully diminishes services to the tenant by interrupting
essential services as provided in the rental agreement to the tenant, the
tenant may recover possession or terminate the rental agreement and, in
either case, recover actual damages sustained by the tenant, and punitive
damages when appropriate, plus a reasonable attorney's fee. If the rental
agreement is terminated under this section, the landlord shall return all
prepaid rent and security deposits.
66-28-511. Recovery of possession by landlord limited.
A landlord may not recover or take possession of the dwelling unit by
action or otherwise, including willful diminution of services to the
tenant by interrupting or causing the interruption of electric, gas,
water or other essential service to the tenant, except in case of
abandonment, surrender, or as permitted in this chapter.
66-28-512. Termination of periodic tenancy — Holdover remedies.
(a) The landlord or the tenant may terminate a week-to-week tenancy by
a written notice given to the other at least ten (10) days prior to the
termination date specified in the notice.
(b) The landlord or the tenant may terminate a month-to-month tenancy
by a written notice given to the other at least thirty (30) days prior to
the periodic rental date specified in the notice.
(c) If the tenant remains in possession without the landlord's consent
after expiration of the term of the rental agreement or its termination,
the landlord may bring an action for possession and if the tenant's
holdover is willful and not in good faith, the landlord, in addition, may
recover actual damages sustained by the landlord, plus reasonable
attorney's fees. If the landlord consents to the tenant's continued
occupancy, § 66-28-201(c) applies.
66-28-515. Administration of remedies — Enforcement.
(a) The remedies provided by this chapter shall be so administered that
the aggrieved party may recover lawful damages. The aggrieved party has
an obligation and duty to mitigate damages.
(b) Any right or obligation declared by this chapter is enforceable by
legal action unless the provision declaring it specifies a different and
66-28-516. Obligation of good faith.
Every duty under this chapter and every act which must be performed as
a condition precedent to the exercise of a right or remedy under this
chapter imposes an obligation of good faith in its performance or