Oklahoma Landlord-Tenant Laws

Oklahoma is home to more than 4 million people. Out of these, about 40% of households are resident-occupied. In other words, this means that about 1.6 million people pay rent on their homes.

Now, conflicts between Oklahoma residential landlords and tenants aren't unheard of. And to help minimize these types of resident-landlord problems, the state of Oklahoma has an extensive and rather straightforward set of landlord-tenant laws in place.

Oklahoma landlord-tenant laws define important things, such as when to return a tenant's security deposit and how much written notice landlords must give before accessing rented premises. As a landlord renting out a property, having a good understanding of the statewide tenancy laws is key. Among other things, it can help Oklahoma landlords serve their tenants better while avoiding legal troubles.

The following is a basic overview of the Oklahoma residential act:

Required Landlord Disclosures in Oklahoma

According to state law, an Oklahoma residential landlord must make certain information known to their tenants prior to them signing the lease agreement. The following are the mandatory disclosures landlords must tell tenants about:

Lead-based Paint

Was the Oklahoma rental property built before 1978? If so, there is some chance that it contains lead-based paint. Lead exposure can be a health risk. It can cause all types of health issues, from high blood pressure to heart diseases.

Recent Flooding

Has the property ever been subjected to flooding in the past five years? If so, then an Oklahoma residential landlord must notify their tenants of this prior to signing the lease.

Methamphetamine

Has the property ever at some point been used in the manufacture of methamphetamine drugs? If a landlord knows or has reasons to believe there's been drug related criminal activity on the premises, they have a legal obligation to let their tenant know.

Name & Address of the Landlord

A landlord must also let their resident know of the person who owns and manages the dwelling unit.

oklahoma landlord tenant rental agreement

It goes without saying that these disclosures must be in writing and provided before lease agreement signing.

Rights & Responsibilities of Oklahoma Landlords

An Oklahoma landlord has a right to:

  • Enter their tenant's home to carry out any of their responsibilities. For example, to repair an issue, or to inspect the unit for damage.
  • Make changes to the lease agreement so long as they get their tenant's consent.
  • Receive a written notice when tenants are looking to end their tenancy.
  • Receive proper notice when their tenant wishes to leave the unit for an extended period of time.
  • Evict the tenant for failing to abide by the lease or rental agreements terms, such as unpaid rent.

The responsibilities of landlords under Oklahoma residential landlord-tenant law also consist of:

  • Providing the resident with a rental unit that meets the basic local habitability codes and perform specific repairs, maintenance and inspections
  • Following all terms of the lease agreement
  • Treating all tenants fairly and equally as per the provisions of the state's Fair Housing laws
  • Responding to necessary repairs or provide maintenance in a timely manner
  • Respecting the tenants peaceful enjoyment

Oklahoma Tenant Rights & Responsibilities

Oklahoma landlord-resident law state that resident rights include:

  • Living in a habitable rental unit
  • Receiving written notice when the landlord wishes to enter their unit to carry out their rent responsibilities
  • Being treated fairly and equally without discrimination before, during and after the rent period
  • A judicial eviction process

As for tenant responsibilities under the Oklahoma residential rental laws, they include:

  • Keeping the property clean and sanitary during the rent period
  • Abiding by the terms of the Oklahoma lease agreement during the rent period
  • Give notice to landlords when needed repairs
  • Giving the landlord written notice when looking to vacate their rental property
  • Terminate the lease agreement with just cause and after giving written notice
  • Give notice to the landlord when looking to be away from the residence for an extended period of time
  • Pay rent on or before the due date each rent payment period.
  • Letting the tenant know of any maintenance issues that arise during the rent period
  • Repairing any damage that results from their negligent use of the Oklahoma property

landlord tenant act, fair housing act and lease law

Overview of Oklahoma Rental Laws

1. Security Deposit Rules

Oklahoma has basic rules for both landlords and tenants in regard to a deposit for the rent period. One such rule is how landlords should store their tenant's deposit. Immediately after a landlord receives it, they must store the deposit in an escrow account. This account the deposit is in must not only be federally insured, but must also be in a financial institution located within the state.

Another rule pertains to the return of the tenant's security deposit. After a tenant moves out, a landlord must return the security deposits within 30 days.

2. Landlord Entry

Every tenant in the United States has a right to privacy. Barging in uninvited can be a recipe for legal issues, especially if done multiple times.

Granted landlords have a right to enter their rented property. However, this right is only guaranteed so long as the landlord is entering to carry out one of their responsibilities. These may include:

  • Inspecting the unit for damage
  • Conducting agreed or requested repairs
  • Investigating potential rent violations
  • Showing the unit to prospective buyers, lenders or tenants
  • In the event of an emergency

Even so, landlords must first notify their Oklahoma tenant of their intentions to enter the rented premises. This must be a written notice and the tenant must be made aware of it at least 24 hours in advance. Failure to do so could allow tenants to terminate their lease or rental agreement.

3. Fair Housing Rules

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing-related matters against tenants based on protected characteristics. In Oklahoma, the protected characteristics are sex, religion, color, race, age, national origin, and disability.

monthly tenancy and landlord tenant relationship

As such, landlords must be careful about how they write property descriptions and lease agreements, as well as how they screen prospective tenants. For instance, it's illegal to include any of the following statements in a marketing copy per the federal Fair Housing Act as they could be considered forms of housing discrimination:

  • Ideal for a single professional
  • Great for working folk or students
  • Ideal for a quiet couple
  • Perfect for a male student

All these statements discriminate against a Oklahoma tenant in one way or another and therefore violate their Fair Housing Rights.

4. Eviction Rules

As already mentioned, Oklahoma tenants have a right to a judicial eviction process. This means that it'd be illegal for a landlord to take matters into their own hands and immediately evict tenants. For example, by removing the tenant's belongings from the unit, or by shutting off utilities. Such actions will not only delay the process, but can also land landlords in legal trouble.

To evict a tenant, landlords first need to have a legal cause, such as a if a tenant doesn't pay their rent or another kind of lease violation. Next, the landlord will need to serve the tenant with an eviction notice. Depending on the action the tenants takes, they may need to take the Oklahoma eviction process a notch higher by heading over to court.

Summary

It's important to understand Oklahoma law and federal law as it pertains to tenants rights and landlord duties. These rental laws are subject to change therefore it's important to remain up-to-date.

If need further help consider hiring professional legal services or an experienced management company. Contact our team at Draper Realty for support.

Disclaimer: This information is only intended to be informational and is not a substitute for professional legal advice.

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