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FAQs for Memphis and Shelby County Evictions

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.


Michelle Williams

August 15, 2016at 11:36 pm

My landlord took me to court in January for possession but instead after court he asked me would I like to pay and stay so that’s what I did I have all receipts to show that. But now he’s tryna come take possession of property without another court order I wanna know can he legally do that or he would have to have a FED filed and give me proper notice.


September 9, 2016at 10:48 am

Which law enforcement agency should my nephew contact to get his free loading grandson out of his house?

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