General Sessions Appeals are Cheap and Easy, But Detainer Judgment Appeals are Expensive and Tricky

In some law review article I’ve read (I’ll find you a citation later), the author said that the right to appeal a detainer action is really no right at all, because it’s so expensive to appeal in that scenario.

This is a reference to the detainer judgment appeal bond contained in Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-18-130(b)(2).

That section says in part that:

…if the defendant prays an appeal, the defendant shall execute bond, or post either a cash deposit or irrevocable letter of credit from a regulated financial institution, or provide two (2) good personal sureties with good and sufficient security in the amount of one (1) year’s rent of the premises, conditioned to pay all costs and damages accruing from the failure of the appeal, including rent and interest on the judgment as provided for herein, and to abide by and perform whatever judgment may be rendered by the appellate court in the final hearing of the cause. …

So, where the tenant (or other person in possession of the real property) loses in General Sessions Court and the Plaintiff/Landlord/Property owner wins a detainer judgment for possession, sure, that tenant has the right to appeal. But, they have to post a bond equal to one year’s rental value of the property.

That’s a pretty tall order. Of course, if they don’t have the money or credit to post a cash bond, they can always try to find some dummy to sign on as a surety on the bond.

So, in short, this  isn’t the typical $250 Appeal Bond that you see in most other Sessions appeals.  That’s a quick and easy way to buy more time. This detainer bond could be $10,000 or it could be $150,000 (for fancy Belle Meade mansions or commercial properties).

Keep in mind, a losing defendant can still file an Appeal without complying with this bond requirement.

A detainer appeal without the “one year rent” bond is still an effective appeal, but it doesn’t help the defendant in any way in keeping the property (See what the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled in December 2013 in Johnson v. Hopkins).


Author: David

I am a creditors rights and commercial litigation attorney in Nashville, Tennessee.

3 thoughts on “General Sessions Appeals are Cheap and Easy, But Detainer Judgment Appeals are Expensive and Tricky”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: