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Sober/Transitional Living Facility Resources - Tennessee

Frequently Asked Questions


1. What kinds of facilities require a license?

Any substance abuse facility which offers treatment services for substance abuse requires a license from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS). Substance abuse facilities View More

2. What kinds of facilities are exempt from licensure?

The following facilities are exempt from licensure by Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS): View More

3. What kinds of facilities provide addiction services in Tennessee?

Alcohol and Drug

Residential Detoxification Treatment Facilities

Alcohol and drug residential detoxification treatment facilities provide intensive twenty-four hour residential treatment for service recipients to systematically reduce or eliminate the amount of a toxic agent in the body until they cease to exhibit signs and symptoms of withdrawal.


There are two levels of residential detoxification treatment:  View More

4. What does it mean to be ‘licensed’ or ‘accredited’ in this industry?

Licensing means that the facility has been granted a written notice conveying to the public that Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) has issued View More 

Recovery Residences


5. What is a recovery home?

Recovery Homes are transitional alcohol and drug free housing with rules, peer-led groups, staff activities and/or other structured operations which are directed toward maintenance of sobriety for persons who exhibit treatment resistance...View More

6. Do we need a license to open a recovery home?

Recovery homes which do not provide any services to residents are currently unlicensed by Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS).View More

7. In the absence of licensing, how can recovery homes demonstrate their commitment to meeting minimum quality standards?

The Tennessee Alliance of Recovery Residences (TN-ARR) is a peer driven not-for-profit organization. View More

8. What is the process through which a sober home can be accepted as an affiliate of Tennessee Alliance of Recovery Residences?

To be accepted as a member of Tennessee Alliance of Recovery Residences (TN-ARR) the recovery home must be an alcohol and drug free environment. View More

9. What kinds of services can a recovery home offer?

Recovery Homes provide a structured alcohol and drug free environment for...  View More


Zoning and Land Use

10. What are the protections afforded by federal law to small group homes used for the purpose of residential drug rehabilitation?

A facility with six or fewer people is... View More

11. Can local governments put special restrictions on recovery homes?

Recovery homes in some communities have found growing efforts to regulate them by local ordinance, including registration requirements, concentration (spacing) limits, and other requirements. View More

12. What other aspects must I consider before choosing a location for our recovery home?

In siting a recovery home, attention must be paid to potential hostility from neighbors. View More

Resident’s Rights and Responsibilities

13. What would our obligations to residents be?

To enforce that the premises remain safe and free of intoxicant use; to...View More

14. What kind of agreement can we ask our residents to sign?

Any agreement residents sign must comply with landlord and tenant laws of...View More

15. Can we insist on drug tests and searches?

No, recovery homes do not have the right to impose testing or searches without consent. Rules and regulation...View More

16. Can a recovery home bill insurance for required and/or random drug testing?

Recovery homes sometimes rely on the drug screening which takes place when the resident attends outpatient services...View More

17. Can we make residents’ obligations contractually enforceable?

If the rules are contained in the tenancy agreement as conditions of residence, and the resident agrees to them upon accepting the tenancy... View More 

Governance and Staffing 

18. What kind of ownership and staffing structures are common with these types of residential arrangements?

A sober housing facility may be structured as a nonprofit corporation...View More


19. Are there any other organizations where we could find more information?

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration http://www.samhsa.gov/  View More

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