Tennessee Supreme Court to soon lift restrictions on evictions

Posted at 9:07 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 22:07:48-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Evictions will once again return beginning Monday, but attorneys say the deadline may not be what it seems.

Up until this point, COVID-19 put a halt to eviction proceedings as part of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s ruling back in April.

Davidson County announced they would not process any evictions through the General Sessions Courts of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County.

The eviction protection was initially intended to last until the end of April, but was delayed until judges felt they could rely on remote proceedings via video or audio conference calls.

Courts can begin sending out detainer warrants, which is the first step in the legal eviction process. Attorney Joe Fuson of Freeman & Fuson, says several landlords have already submitted the eviction paperwork necessary ahead of Monday.

“It’s going to be the same circumstances anybody would find themselves in pre-COVID-19 with their landlord,” said Fuson.

With the courts still far behind with backlogs, Fuson says it may take weeks for the warrant to make it to your door. Only after you receive the warrant, can the county set a court date.

“Right now they’re looking at late June or early July,” said Fuson.

The CARES Act also limits landlords who paid for their properties with a federal FDA loan, from starting evictions until July 27th. Fuson says while this only applies to a small segment of the population, he says it offers even more time. Any landlord seeking an eviction also has to legally verify that the CARES Act does not apply in their case and therefore shouldn’t stand in their way of proceeding with eviction.

With more time, Fuson says you should use this as an opportunity to negotiate a plan to pay back your past rent.

For Deborah Guy of Nashville, it was a conversation she was reluctant to have. Thankfully her landlord/roommate was understanding.

“He’s been willing to kind of forgo the rent right now and help me eat, but that can’t last. It’s not sustainable. I need to be able to pay my rent and buy food,” said Guy.

Deborah tries not to think about the unemployment money she’s yet to see, but that hasn’t stopped the bills from reminding her.

“I don’’t have an ability to pay my rent or my bills,” said Guy.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development contacted Deborah late Thursday afternoon to inform her that her claim had been approved. She expects to receive her unemployment in the next 48 hours.