Foreclosure Laws in Tennessee

Homeowners who bought their homes with mortgages are in danger of having their homes taken away due to a foreclosure. This is the official process by which the lender or bank reclaims a home since the agreed-upon payments are not being made. Typically, this is not going to happen until payments have stopped for 90 days -— roughly three months -— or more. You do not have to worry about losing your home if you forgot to make one payment.

The Foreclosure Notice

If you do miss multiple payments, though, the mortgage lender is going to inform you that they want to pursue a foreclosure. They can do this by posting a notice or mailing one to you. If they post it, Tennessee law says that they have to do it 30 days before the sale —- or repossession —- of the house. If they mail it to you, they have to do it 20 days beforehand. Either way, you are going to get the notice well in advance of the sale so that you can respond.

There is one exception to this for high-cost mortgages. For these, the law requires that the mailed notice be sent out 30 days in advance, rather than 20. Otherwise, high-cost mortgages are handled in the same fashion.

Redeeming the House After the Sale

For those who have the cash on hand, paying off the late fees and missed payments —- or paying off the whole balance of the mortgage loan —- can stop the foreclosure process and redeem the house. After all, the lender is merely trying to get the money out of the loan; if you can provide that, the bank has no use for the house itself.

In Tennessee, you may also be able to redeem the house after the sale. There is an available redemption period that runs for two years. You should note, though, that the terms of your individual mortgage may waive this right, so you need to know the specifics of the agreement that you signed when you bought the home.

Foreclosure for Active Duty Military Members

If you are a member of the military and you are afraid that you are going to lose your home while you are on active duty, don't be concerned. Tennessee law specifically states that a home cannot be foreclosed upon while you are on active duty. Furthermore, they cannot spring it upon you immediately after you get back, as you are granted a period of 90 days before the house can be repossessed.

Leaving the Home

If you do lose your home, there is a procedure in place that has to be followed. First, the new owner —- perhaps your mortgage lender —- can file a lawsuit for forcible entry, and they will then have to serve you a warrant. If you stay in the home, a trial will happen no later than six days after you are given this notice. You could then be legally evicted by law enforcement officials. After the judge makes a ruling in the case, you will get a writ of possession, which may serve as your final notice to vacate the property.

Understanding Your Rights

Whether you are simply worried that a foreclosure may be coming, up against a foreclosure lawsuit, or going through the trial and eviction process, you need to make sure that you know about all of your legal rights as a homeowner. Not only do you have to make sure that you retain your rights at all times, but you should be aware of the legal steps that you can take at any point in the foreclosure proceedings.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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