Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Tennessee

My landlord has charged us on two seperate occassions for (he says) mowing our lawn. Then he repaired a water line that was leaking outside..Saying we were responsible because the line was allowed to freeze....My question is , I have asked for a invoice and both times we were told it was lost in the mail..What should i do?

Asked on 5/27/10, 3:56 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Howard R. Peppel Peppel, Gomes & MacIntosh, P.C.
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You have to look to the terms of your written lease agreement which will govern the assessment of the charges for the lawn mowing and the water line repair. If the lease specifies that lawncare is the obligation of the tenant, the tenant will have to cut the grass and maintain the yard. Should the tenant fail to comply with this obligation, the landlord is then required, in Tennessee, to send a written notice to the tenant telling the tenant to correct the deficiency. Should the tenant fail to correct the problem within 14 days, the landlord can then terminate the lease in 30 days or proceed with remedial action and charge the tenant for the lawncare.

The same is basically true with respect to the water line. If the tenant is obligated by the terms of the lease agreement to protect the pipes from freezing and fails to do so, the tenant can then be held liable for the expenses relative to the repairs.

As for the lost invoices, if the landlord wants to be paid, he or she has to provide you with a bill so you know how much to pay. My suggestion is to send a written notice to the landlord asking for the invoice - the landlord must then provide you with the written charge.

The primary key to all sorts of actions under the Tennessee Residential Landlord and Tenant Act is a written notice - either from the landlord to the tenant or from the tenant to the landlord.

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Answered on 6/03/10, 3:34 pm

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