Oklahoma Eviction Law

Posted by Christopher Berkompas in Oklahoma

Note: I am not a lawyer, and this does not constitute legal advice.

When does a landlord have a legal right to evict a tenant?

A landlord may seek to evict a tenant for two main reasons, (1) failing to pay rent when due, and (2), violating the terms of the lease agreement in a substantial way.  

How are evictions performed?

The landlord may terminate a lease when the tenant fails to pay due rent within five (5) days of receiving a written notice from the landlord requesting payment.  If the tenant fails to pay or otherwise fix the problem, the landlord may then proceed with filing an eviction suit with the local court.

The landlord will file a complaint with the local court, and papers will then be served on the tenant, notifying him of the hearing date.  At the hearing, the judge will hear both sides of the evidence, and make his decision.  If the landlord wins, the tenant will be ordered to leave the property.  If necessary, the sheriff may forcibly evict a tenant who refuses to leave.  

It the tenant wins the suit, he will be able to remain on the property for the remainder of the lease term.  However, the fact that the tenant won the case will not obligate the landlord to renew the tenant's lease after it expires normally.


How are landlords supposed to deal with tenant belongings left behind?

If the property is of no value, the landlord may discard it.  However, if it has some value, the landlord must notify the tenant that they must pick up the property within thirty (30) days, or it will be considered abandoned.  During that time, the landlord must store the property in a safe location, and use reasonable care to protect it.  Costs for storage are chargeable to the tenant, if they are reasonable.  If the tenant does not remove the property within the period, the landlord may do with it whatever he sees fit.

Can the landlord shut off utilities or lock a tenant out prior to the completion of the eviction process?

No, a landlord does not have the right to use self-help methods to evict a tenant, such as locking the tenant out.  He must use the court system.  However, utilities may be shut off for a brief period if it is necessary to do a repair in good faith. 

Can a tenant be evicted for having a roommate?

Yes, if this was not permitted by the lease.  In that case, the court would likely consider it to be a substantial violation of the lease agreement, and it therefore could be grounds for eviction.

Can landlords legally deduct legal fees and court costs from the security deposit?

No, the security deposit must only be used for to pay for back rent or damages to the property.  If the tenant makes a request for the security deposit within six months of the termination of the lease, the landlord must return it in full.  Or, if any of it was spent, the landlord must provide an itemized list of deductions with the remainder of the deposit.

Can the tenant fix the problem and remain on the premises, even after the eviction has started?

Technically no.  However, the tenant will have at least 5 days notice before the eviction process begins to remedy the problem, and that will stop the eviction from happening in the first place.


Oklahoma Bar on rights of Landlords

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