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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Opt-Out Cities

Reference Number: MTAS-1179
Reviewed Date: 11/09/2022

Whether or not it is enforcing a locally adopted code or has no code at all, a city can completely avoid state regulation of one and two-family dwellings in its jurisdiction by opting out of the statewide standards. This can be accomplished by a specific and recurring resolution process. This requires a city to pass a resolution by a two-thirds vote of the governing body exempting one- and two-family dwellings in its jurisdiction from the applicability of the statewide standards and to forward the resolution to the state fire marshal. The resolution, however, expires 180 days following the date of the next election. Therefore, each new governing body must pass a subsequent resolution to continue avoiding the applicability of the state standards.

The counties and cities that have opted out of the residential inspection program represent approximately 20 percent of the state’s population. A list of the residential inspection program status of all Tennessee counties and cities is available from the State of Tennessee website.