Knoxville, TN asked in Landlord - Tenant for Tennessee

Q: My hoarder ex-girlfriend moved out of my TN house-there's no lease. She won't get her things. What can I do?

The home is my grandmother's, who moved into a smaller home. We lived there together for 4 years; no lease-no rent. She has moved out but left all her tubs, boxes, and stuff that fills the rooms from floor to ceiling. This was a big reason why we split up. She demands-with no notice-I cancel any plans to allow her to come get her things at her exact time and threatens the police if i don't do as she asks. Then she cancels. She has not gotten anything in over a month. She also states she can come into my home whenever she wants with whoever she wants. I feel she is using this as a means of retaliation.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Tennessee, if your ex-girlfriend lived in the house for an extended period and kept her belongings there, she might be considered a tenant at will, despite not having a formal lease or paying rent. However, since she has moved out, you can take steps to address the situation:

1. Written notice: Send her a written notice via certified mail, requesting that she remove her belongings by a specific date (e.g., 30 days from the notice date). Keep a copy of the notice for your records.

2. Reasonable timeframe: Provide her with a reasonable timeframe to collect her items, and be flexible in arranging a mutually convenient time for her to do so.

3. Communicate in writing: Insist that all further communication be done in writing to maintain a record of your interactions and agreements.

4. Police presence: If she does come to collect her belongings, you may request a police officer to be present to ensure a peaceful transfer and prevent any false allegations.

5. Storage: If she fails to remove her belongings by the specified date, you may move them to a storage facility at her expense. Notify her in writing of the storage location and any associated costs.

6. Legal action: If she continues to be uncooperative, consult with a local attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law. They can advise you on the proper legal procedures for removing her belongings and protecting your rights.

Remember, you cannot simply dispose of her belongings without following the proper legal process, as this could lead to legal consequences. Maintain detailed records of all communications and actions taken throughout the process.

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