Oklahoma Landlord-Tenant Laws

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

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

These laws defines important things, such as when to return a tenant's security deposit and how much notice to give before accessing rented premises. As a landlord, having a good understanding of the statewide tenancy laws is key. Among other things, it can help you serve your tenants better while avoiding legal troubles.

The following is a basic overview of the Oklahoma landlord-tenant law:

Required Landlord Disclosures

According to Oklahoma law, you must make certain information known to your tenants prior to them signing the lease agreement. The following are the mandatory disclosures:

Lead-based Paint

Was your rental unit 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 you must notify your renter of this.

Methamphetamine

Has your property ever at some point been used in the manufacture of methamphetamine drugs? If you know or have reasons to believe so, you have a legal obligation to let your tenant know.

Name & Address of the Landlord

You must also let your renter know of the person who owns and manages the property.

oklahoma landlord tenant rental agreement

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

Rights & Responsibilities of Oklahoma Landlords

A landlord in Oklahoma 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 rental agreement so long as they get their tenant's consent.
  • Receive a written notice when tenants are looking to vacate their rented premises.
  • Be notified when their renter wishes to leave the premises for an extended period of time.
  • Evict the tenant for failing to abide by the rental agreements terms.

Oklahoma landlord responsibilities also consist of:

  • Providing the tenant with a rental unit that meets the basic local habitability codes
  • 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 maintenance requests in a timely manner

Oklahoma Tenant Rights & Responsibilities

Oklahoma tenant rights include:

  • Living in a habitable rental unit
  • Being notified when the landlord wishes to enter their unit to carry out their responsibilities
  • Being treated fairly and equally without discrimination
  • A judicial eviction process

As for tenant responsibilities, they include:

  • Keeping the unit clean and sanitary
  • Abiding by the terms of the lease agreement
  • Notifying the landlord when looking to vacate their rented premises
  • Notifying the landlord when looking to be away for an extended period of time
  • Letting the tenant know of any maintenance issues that arise

landlord tenant act and fair housing act

  • Repairing any damage that results from their negligent use of the property

Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in Oklahoma

1. Security Deposit Rules

Oklahoma has basic rules for both tenants and landlords in regard to security deposits. One such rule is how landlords should store their tenant's deposit. Immediately after a landlord receives it, they must store it in an escrow account. This account 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 deposit within 30 days.

2. Landlord Entry

Every renter 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, as a landlord, you have a right to enter rented premises. However, this right is only guaranteed so long as you're entering to carry out one of your 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 renters
  • In the event of an emergency

Even so, a landlord must first notify their tenant of their intentions to enter the rented premises. This must be a written notice and the renter must be made aware of it at least 24 hours in advance.

3. Fair Housing Rules

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing-related matters 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 your property descriptions, as well as how they screen prospective tenants. For instance, it's illegal to include any of the following statements in a marketing copy:

  • 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 tenant in one way or another.

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 eviction process, but can also land you in legal trouble.

To evict a tenant, you'll first need to have a legal cause, such as nonpayment of rent. Next, you'll need to serve them with an eviction notice. Moreover, depending on the action they take, you may need to take the 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 renters rights and landlord duties. These 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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