Summary of Tennessee's Foreclosure Laws

Learn about the key features of Tennessee foreclosure law.

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

Notice of the foreclosure

Foreclosing party must either publish notice of sale in a newspaper at least 20 days before sale or post notice in several public places 30 days before sale (if there is no newspaper in the county). Foreclosing party must mail the borrower a copy of the notice of sale on or before the first publication.

Reinstatement of loan before sale

Not available (except as permitted by the terms of the mortgage or deed of trust, or in the case of a high-cost home loan)

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. The borrower can reinstate at any time prior to three business days before the sale by paying the amount due to the lender. The right to cure a default prior to commencing a foreclosure proceeding may be exercised only once in any 12-month period.Tenn. Code Ann. § 45-20-104

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, but if the borrower proves that the foreclosed property sold for an amount materially less than fair market value, the court will limit the deficiency judgment to the difference between the outstanding mortgage debt and the fair market value of the property.

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 detainer 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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