Oklahoma Eviction Laws

What is a landlord to do when their Oklahoma tenant isn't paying, for example? Well, a landlord could call to notify them of the issue. Sometimes it could be that they may have forgotten about it and will quickly resolve the problem.

However, what happens if the tenant refuses to answer any of the landlord's calls? And days turn to weeks, and weeks to months? In such a case, an eviction to remove the person from the premises would certainly be on the cards.

Now, evictions in Oklahoma are a pretty straightforward legal process for those involved in rental property management. Following the Oklahoma eviction process to the letter is key. If a landlord is new to renting out their property, it's important that, as the landlord, they familiarize themself with this legal process to ensure that the eviction lawsuit is carried out properly.

The following is the step-by-step Oklahoma eviction process timeline a landlord and tenant must abide by:

Step #1: Legal Reason

If a property manager or landlord wishes to end their lease with a tenant, they must have legal reason. The landlord cannot simply decide on their own terms to remove the tenant from the rental unit. Without a proper reason, the landlord may be asked to cover the attorney's fees and other court costs. Some acceptable reasons to evict a tenant in Oklahoma are as follows:

  • The tenant fails or refuses to make rental payment
  • Habitual late rent payment
  • Excessive property damage
  • Refusal to leave the rental unit after the lease term is over
  • The tenant engaging in illegal activities while at the rental property
  • The tenant is committing serious lease or rental agreement violations, such as keeping an unauthorized pet

Once there is justification for the eviction based on the tenant not fulfilling their responsibilities, you'll need to move to the next step.

Step #2: Eviction Notice

Next, the landlord will need to serve the tenant with an eviction notice, or a notice to quit. Eviction notices are a special type of written notice that must state certain crucial points. For example:

  • Reason to seek eviction, such as, because the tenant fails to pay rent
  • The appropriate notice period
  • What the tenant must do, according to Oklahoma law, after the specified period is over

eviction lawsuit when tenant violates lease or rental agreement

The type of notice required for the tenant depends on the violation the tenant has committed.

Nonpayment of Rent

In this case, landlords must serve the tenant with a 5-Day Notice to Quit for failure to pay rent. The written notice simply tells the tenant that they must pay all past due rent in 5 days or else they must end their lease and move out of the rental unit. If the tenant pays in response to the notice, the eviction process doesn't need to continue. If they still have unpaid rent or they move out within the time allotted by the 5-Day Notice to Quit, the landlord can begin legal eviction process in Oklahoma.

Lease Violation

Here, according to Oklahoma eviction laws, a property owner must serve the tenant with a 15-Day Notice to Comply. The notice gives the tenant a maximum of 10 days to resolve the lease violation issue or else move out after the 15 days are over. Some of the lease violations that fall into this category that allow a landlord to evict a tenant include excessive property damage, exceeding the rental unit, unauthorized occupants, or keeping an unauthorized pet. If the tenant doesn't resolve the issue after receiving the notice, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit.

Illegal Activity

Illegal activity is a serious violation of any lease terms. Oklahoma laws don't require a landlord to send written eviction notice to the tenant regarding this. The landlord can proceed with the immediate termination of a tenant with no notice once they have become aware of any criminal activity.

Illegal activities can either be drug-related criminal activity or be one that threatens the safety, health, and peaceful enjoyment of other tenants. Additionally, a landlord may also be able to evict a tenant without notice for felony convictions such as sex offenses, battery, assault, and violence.

Step #3: Summons & Complaint

At this stage of the eviction process in Oklahoma, a landlord can seek legal counsel and file a complaint in an appropriate district court. The filing fees will usually be $85.

eviction lawsuit in small claims court for lease violations

The clerk will then use a process server to serve the summons and complaint to the tenant. In most cases, the process server is usually the sheriff.

Step #4: Court Hearing & Judgment

The Oklahoma eviction hearing and proceedings will then be held anywhere between 5 and 10 days after the tenant is issued by the summons.

If the tenant wishes, they could file a formal, written answer with the court for their eviction case. This isn't, however, a requirement for tenants wishing to attend an eviction hearing.

If the tenant chooses not to make an appearance to the eviction proceedings on the set court date, it will be likely that the judge rules in favor of the landlord. The landlord must then request the court for a Writ of Execution a few hours or days after the ruling.

However, if the tenant makes a court appearance, then the court will provide both the landlord and tenant's legal teams an opportunity to present their cases. In their defense, the tenant may allege any of the following:

  • The landlord used "self-help" eviction methods. Did you, as the landlord try to evict tenants yourself? For example, by changing locks, turning off utilities, or even removing a tenant's personal property. If so, besides delaying the eviction, the tenant may be able to sue you for damages.
  • The landlord failed to follow the proper eviction procedure. Did the landlord serve the tenant the right Oklahoma eviction notice, for instance? If the proper notice was not given, the tenant may use that as a defense in the eviction lawsuit.
  • The eviction is based on discrimination. The Oklahoma Fair Housing Law makes it illegal for landlords to discriminate against their tenants based on a number of protected characteristics. These include gender, race, religion, disability, familial status, and national origin. Evicting a tenant based on one or more of these classes is not considered legal and compelling justification.

eviction process in Olkahoma for lease agreement violations

  • It's a retaliatory act. The written lease gives tenants several unalienable rights, whether written or implied, such as the right to join or form a union that advocates for their rights. You cannot, then, retaliate against the tenant for exercising such rights. An example of a retaliatory act is increasing rent.
  • The landlord failed to maintain the unit to habitable standards. As per the Oklahoma law, a landlord must maintain their property to habitable standards. Landlords must provide running water, garbage receptacles, and ensure all plumbing and electrical systems are functioning properly. If you fail to do so, your tenant will have several options to consider, including withholding rent payments. Landlords cannot, therefore, file evictions for nonpayment.

Step #5: Writ of Execution

A Writ of Execution is a document that serves as the tenant's final written eviction notice requesting them to leave their rented premises. A court will issue it a few hours to a few days once the landlord has requested the notice after a successful judgment.

The tenant will have a maximum of 48 hours to move out of the property once the court order has been issued with the writ. If the tenant doesn't, then the sheriff will have no option but to remove them via forcible entry.

Bottom Line

There you have it, everything you need to know about the eviction process and required eviction notice in Oklahoma. As a landlord you should also familiarize yourself with the state's lease or rental agreement policies, security deposit laws, and other rental property regulations.

Filing for evictions and managing rental properties in general can be one of the most daunting aspects of property management. If you need the services of professional property managers, contact Draper Realty today for help fulfilling your property management needs!

Disclaimer: The information herein is only meant to be educational and not a substitute for professional legal advice from an attorney. If you need further help, please consider hiring professional legal aid or advice.

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