Oklahoma Eviction Laws

What is a landlord to do when their Oklahoma tenant isn't paying rent, for example? Well, they 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 your 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, eviction in Oklahoma is a pretty straightforward process. Following the process to the letter is key. If you're new to renting our your property, it's important that, as the landlord, you familiarize yourself with this process.

The following is the step-by-step Oklahoma eviction process all landlords must abide by:

Step #1: Legal Reason

A landlord must have a legal reason to evict their tenant. The landlord cannot simply decide on their own terms to remove the tenant from the rental unit. Some acceptable reasons for tenant eviction in Oklahoma are as follows:

  • Refusal to make rental payment
  • Habitual late rent payment
  • Excessive property damage
  • Refusal to leave the rental unit after the lease or rental agreement is over
  • The tenant engaging in illegal activities while at the property
  • The tenant is committing serious lease 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, you'll need to serve the tenant with an eviction notice. An eviction notice is a special type of written notice that must state certain crucial points. For example:

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

eviction lawsuit when tenant violates lease or rental agreement

There are various eviction notice types depending on the violation the tenant has committed.

Nonpayment of Rent

A landlord must serve the tenant with a 5-Day Notice to Pay for failure to pay rent. The written notice simply tells the tenant that they must pay all due rent in 5 days or else they must move out of the rental unit. If the tenant doesn't pay rent or move out within the stipulated time, the landlord can proceed with the eviction process.

Lease Violation

Here, according to the Oklahoma eviction law, a landlord must serve the tenant with a 15-Day Notice to Comply. The notice gives the tenant a maximum of 10 days to resolve the issue or else move out after the 15 days are over. Some of the lease violations that fall into this category include excessive property damage, exceeding the rental unit, and keeping an unauthorized pet.

Illegal Activity

This is a serious violation of the lease agreement. Oklahoma eviction laws don't require a landlord to give a written notice to the tenant regarding this. The landlord can move forward with the process to evict a tenant immediately once they have become aware of it.

Illegal activity can either be drug-related 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 for felony convictions such as sex offenses, battery, assault, and violence.

Step #3: Summons & Complaint

At this stage of the process, a landlord must file a complaint in an appropriate court in Oklahoma. The filing will usually cost $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 hearing 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. This isn't, however, a requirement for tenants wishing to attend an eviction hearing.

If the tenant chooses not to make a court appearance, the court will likely issue a default judgment in the landlords favor. 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 parties 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 not, 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.

eviction process in Olkahoma for lease and rental 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. You cannot, therefore, try to evict them for nonpayment of rent.

Step #5: Writ of Execution

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

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

Bottom Line

There you have it, everything you need to know about the eviction process 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.

If you need help with managing your rental unit, contact Draper Realty today!

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

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