Tribble Law PLLC Blog

Thursday, June 13, 2019

New Tennessee Laws Effective July 1, 2019

Two new Tennessee laws of interest taking effect July 1, 2019, are the Hands Free Law & Landlord/Tenant Laws concerning Service and/or Support Animals. 

I. The Hands Free Law makes it illegal for Tennessee drivers to:

  1.  hold a cell phone or mobile device with any part of their body;
  2.  write, send, or read any text-based communication;
  3. reach for a cell phone or mobile device in a manner that requires the driver to no longer be in a seated driving position or properly restrained by a seat belt;
  4. watch a video or movie on a cell phone or mobile device; and 
  5. record or broadcast video on a cell phone or mobile device

There is an exception to the law that allows for cell phone or mobile device use in emergency situations. 

II. Landlord and Tenant – Service Animals – Fraud

This new law allows landlords to require requests for exceptions to no-pet policies in leases from disabled tenants who require the use of a service or support animal. Landlords can now require the tenants to submit reliable documentation of a disability and the disability-related need for a service or support animal. The landlord may deny requests if the tenant fails to submit the documentation. 

If the tenant misrepresents that there is a disability, disability-related need for the use of a service or support animal, or falsely states an animal is a service or support animal, the tenant could be found in default of the lease agreement resulting in termination of the lease with the tenant responsible for landlord’s attorney’s fees. Additionally, those misrepresentations would be a criminal offense classified as a class B Misdemeanor.  

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