Oklahoma Landlord Tenant Laws
Oklahoma Landlord Tenant Laws
In Oklahoma, residential landlord tenant laws are contained in these documents, Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 41, § 101 to 136 – Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (Scroll Down to § 101), and Oklahoma Non-Residential/Residential Landlord and Tenant Acts (pdf). When renting in Oklahoma, it is wise to read and understand the statutes so your rental period will go smoothly and both landlord and tenant will understand their responsibilities under the law. Although we have provided a thorough revue of these statutes in the following article, it is always best to do your own research when solving your specific tenancy issue.
To Lease or Not to Lease
Although it is possible to rent in Oklahoma without a lease, it isn’t wise. Having a lease protects both the landlord and the tenant. A lease contains all the information the parties have agreed to before, during and after the rental period. A standard lease will contain information about security deposits, fees, rental amounts, rental period, including date of occupancy to date. There may be a termination date as well, depending on the parties and their agreement. A lease will either grant or disallow pets and may contain specifics regarding the tenant’s pets in the lease. The Oklahoma Realtors Association can provide useful information for both tenants and landlords when it comes to how to construct a lease that keeps both parties satisfied.
Certain aspects of tenancy are governed and others are not. For example, several aspects of security deposits are not regulated such as:
- Security deposit maximums
- Pet deposits
- Non-refundable fees
- Record keeping of deposit
- Receipt of deposit
Because these aspects aren’t covered under any statute, it is up to the landlord and tenant to hammer out these details and come to an agreement.
Oklahoma governs security deposits as follows:
- Oklahoma statute § 115(B) states that interest on the deposit is not required.
- Security deposits must be kept in escrow in a separate account held within the state in a federally insured banking institution. § 115(A)
- Oklahoma statute § 115(B) requires security deposits to be returned 30 days from the date the tenant vacates the property and terminates the lease. If the tenant fails to request in writing the return of the deposit, it is returned to the landlord.
- Deposits may be used for rent owed and damages caused by the tenant as a result of not following the terms of the lease of the tenant rental statutes. § 115(B)
- Oklahoma requires a written description or list of damages and charges. This is to include an itemized statement of deposit with holdings which can be delivered in person to the tenant or via the US mail. § 115(B)
- Landlords who fail to comply with these statutes governing security deposits are subject to fines up to twice the amount of the security deposit that was misappropriated from escrow and up to 6 months in jail. § 115(A)
Fees, Rent and Lease Regulations
The state of Oklahoma governs several aspects of rent, fees and leases, but there are several aspects that they have not created a statute for. In relation to leases, fees and rents, Oklahoma makes no statute for the following:
- Rent grace period and increase notices
- Prepaid rent
- Early termination of lease and abandonment of property fees
- Returned check fees are not governed under landlord tenant law but under the criminal statute for check fraud (Title 21, Chapter 61, § 1541.1).
- Late fees–however, late fees are allowed according to case law precedent and with some restrictions. Sun Ridge Investors v. Parker
The state regulates the due date of rent via statute § 109(B), which requires the due date to be determined and stated in the lease. If the landlord fails to supply essential or basic services such as water or heat, the tenant may acquire these services and then withhold rent after notifying the landlord as one method of resolution as outlined in statute § 121. The tenant must notify the landlord of the breach in Statutory Landlord Duties and may only recover the amount equal to that used to acquire services.
Oklahoma allows tenants to make repairs up to $100 and then recoup their money provided they notify the landlord in writing of the issue and their intent to repair. The issue must adversely affect health and the landlord must be given a 14 day time period to complete the repairs, unless the repairs needed constitute and emergency situation. If no action has been taken by the landlord to have the problem repaired, the tenant may perform the repair, itemize the costs and submit with the reduced rent. § 121(B)
When landlord and tenant cannot resolve and issue, courts may become involved. In Oklahoma, court costs and attorney’s fees can be recouped by the winning party, however, attorney fees must be reasonable. Rental agreements cannot include a stipulation for obtaining these fees. § 105(B)
You Shall Not Pass
Even thought the landlord owns the property and has certain legal entry rights, tenants also have rights and can deny entry if the landlord has not followed protocol. In Oklahoma, the landlord must give 24 hour notice of intent to enter under statute § 128(C). Tenants are not required to allow the property owner in if they simply appear or call and ask for entry without giving notice first. If the landlord simply appears and asks for entry, the tenant is under no obligation to allow the landlord to enter. § 128(A) and (C)
The same 24 hour notice applies to entering to make repairs, to show the property to prospective tenants. In the event of an emergency, no notice is required. § 128(B)
When a landlord determines his tenant is involved in criminal activity, including drug related activity or any behavior that violates the Statutory Tenant Duties, such damage to the property, the landlord is required to serve notice that if the tenant continues the violations or criminal behavior, they will be evicted and their tenancy will be terminated immediately. If the tenant does not remedy the behavior, the landlord can move for an immediate eviction. § 132(C) and (D)
Landlords may serve a 15 day notice to terminate tenancy for lease violations, however the tenant has ten days to correct the violation and remain in the home. § 132(B)
End of tenancy notice is not required on leases that are ending or have a predetermined end date according to statute § 111(C). Month to month leases require a thirty notice to vacate § 111(A) and weekly tenancy requires a written weekly notice. § 111(B)
When a tenant fails to pay rent, landlords are required to send a written demand for payment of rent before terminating tenancy. IF the tenant has not paid the rent by the time allotted, the landlord may then give notice of termination of rent for non-payment. Oklahoma provides for a five day grace period in order for tenants to pay their rent. Once a termination notice has been given, the landlord may also seek remedy for obtaining the unpaid rent. § 131
Landlords may not lockout tenants § 123 or shut off utilities to force tenants out. § 121(C) There are no statutes governing notice to tenants for spraying pesticides or for notice for the date and time of the move inspection.
A Final Note
Regarding disclosures, Oklahoma requires landlords to provide tenants with the name and address of the property owners, managers or any agent that may act on their behalf and must do so before the tenant begins residing in the property. § 116(A) There are no statutes governing providing a copy of the lease. Oklahoma statute § 118(A) covers landlord duties and responsibilities such as repairs, common areas, maintenance, garbage, water and heat.
Tenant’s duties are outlined in Oklahoma statute § 127 and include responsibilities such as keeping the unit clean, treating appliances appropriately, quiet enjoyment and lawful activity notes. Tenants can also find information and requirements of disclosure of prior methamphetamine manufacturing § 118(C), prior flooding within the past five years and information regarding denial of lease because of blindness and the use of service dogs. § 113.1
In Oklahoma, the maximum amount allowed in small claims court is $7,500 (Title 12, Chapter 36, § 1751) and small claims handles evictions. Small claims are filed in the county in which the issue has occurred. For example, Oklahoma County small claims begin by filing with the clerk of courts, as do all small claims in Oklahoma. For more information about filing or appearing in small claims court contact Legal Aid OK.org.