Summary of Tennessee's Foreclosure Laws

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If you are facing foreclosure in Tennessee, it’s important to understand some of the basics, including:

  • the most common type of foreclosure procedure (judicial v. nonjudicial) used in Tennessee
  • how much time you have to respond
  • your rights and protections in the process, and
  • what happens afterwards (for example, whether you’ll be liable for a deficiency judgment).

Below we have outlined some of the most important features of Tennessee foreclosure law. Keep in mind that this is just a summary; we’ve included statute citations so you can get more details from the laws themselves. And be sure to check out Nolo’s extensive Foreclosure section, where you can find information about all aspects of foreclosure, definitions of foreclosure terms (like redemption and reinstatement), and options to avoid foreclosure.


State Rule

Most common type of foreclosure process

Nonjudicial under power of sale in deed of trust

Time to respond

Foreclosing party must mail the borrower a notice of sale on or before the first publication of the notice and it must either publish notice of sale 20 days before sale or post notice 30 days before sale.

Reinstatement of loan before sale

Not available (except as required by the terms of the mortgage or deed of trust)

Redemption after sale

Available for up to two years after sale, unless redemption period is waived in mortgage or deed of trust.

Special protections for foreclosures involving high-cost mortgages

In the case of a high-cost home loan, the lender must send a notice of right to cure to the borrower at least 30 days before publishing the notice of foreclosure. Tennessee Home Loan Protection Act, Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 45-20-101 to 45-20-111

Special state protections for service members

If a member of a reserve or Tennessee national guard unit entered into a mortgage or deed of trust to purchase a home, and is subsequently called into active military service outside the U.S. during hostilities, the lender cannot foreclose until 90 days after the service member returns to the state. Tenn. Code Ann. § 26-1-111

Deficiency judgments

Allowed if lawsuit is timely filed after conclusion of the foreclosure proceedings. If the debtor proves that the property sold for less than fair market value, the deficiency judgment will be limited to the amount the debtor owed, plus the costs of foreclosure and sale, minus the fair market value.

Cash exempted in bankruptcy

$10,000 for one person, $20,000 for a married couple

Notice to leave after house is sold

New owner may file forcible entry and detainer lawsuit, which involves serving a warrant on the occupant, trial within six days after service, and a writ of possession ten days from the rendition of the judgment ordering sheriff to evict occupant. Former owner may also be evicted through an ejectment procedure.

Foreclosure statutes

Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 35-5-101 to 35-5-111, 66-8-101 to

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