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What Happens in a Detainer Action?

A landlord or apartment complex brings a detainer action to evict a tenant who has not paid the rent. The landlord usually gets a judgment for “possession” of the apartment plus back rent and attorney fees. The tenant has ten days in which to file an appeal. After ten days, if no appeal is filed, the landlord can obtain a writ of possession, which is a court order directing the sheriff to forcibly remove the tenant and his belongings from the property. In practice, the sheriff is present to supply the force of law, but the landlord supplies the manpower to move the personal belongings. The belongings are usually placed at the nearest public road.

The tenant is allowed a “reasonable” amount of time to collect his belongings. Depending on the circumstances, the “reasonable” amount of time can be as short as 24 hours to as long as 24 days! The Knox County officers who are responsible for executing writs of possession stay busy, with eight writs to execute every day. They are sometimes booked two weeks or more in advance. They do not evict people while it is raining, snowing, sleeting or hailing.

It is interesting to know that, in Knox County, detainer court is not held during the last two weeks of December.

The information contained on this site is intended to educate members of the public generally and is not intended to provide solutions to individual legal problems. Readers are cautioned not to attempt to solve individual problems on the basis of information contained herein and are strongly advised to seek competent legal counsel before relying on information on this site.

This site is maintained by Vowell & Associates, Attorneys at Law, 6718 Albunda Drive, Knoxville TN 37919, Tel. 865-292-0000, Fax 865-292-0002, email
KnoxLeaseLaw, and DETAINER are trademarks of Vowell & Associates. Copyright © 2000 Vowell & Associates. All rights reserved.
Last modified: Monday November 21, 2005.