Oklahoma Landlord Tenant Laws
It is important that both a landlord and the renting tenant be familiar with Oklahoma landlord tenant laws. This guide is meant to be only a guide and not a replacement for the law. Readers should take each statement lightly and not use it as actual governing law. You are required to do your own research.
Oklahoma Tenant's Responsibility and Rights
Tenants are responsible for quite a few things beyond the rights they receive by default. They are responsible for:
- keeping the unit clean and free of cluttered trash. They should dispose of trash properly.
- keeping damages to a minimum and repair anything that is their fault. This includes damages by guests or family members visiting.
- staying in compliance with each rule set in place by the landlord. Everything outlined in the rental agreement should be adhered to.
- paying rent in a timely manner, in full.
- not disturbing their neighbors in any way. Disturbances could potential result in removal.
- not causing damage or issue that interferes with other tenants. If this occurs, it must be repaired or resolved within 10 days. Eviction could occur if not resolved within the timeframe.
Oklahoma Landlord Responsibility and Rights
- The property/rental unit should be maintained in safe and livable conditions. Anything dangerous is to be taken care of on an immediate basis.
- All shared areas amongst all tenants such as laundry and hallways be kept in a neat and orderly fashion. This maintenance is the responsibility of the landlord.
- Landlords are required to take care of all repairs in a timely and orderly fashion.
- They are allowed to enter the residence of their tenants in a reasonable fashion at reasonable hours and only for the purpose of making repairs or inspections.
- Landlords are required to abide by a tenant's quiet enjoyment and therefore may not enter the premises at an untimely or inconvenient hour without permission or notice.
- All appliances should be kept in working and safe order such as heating and air, plumbing, elevators, etc.
- The unit should be provided with safe fire exits and smoke detectors as paid for by the landlord.
- Trash services must be provided.
- Utilities should be paid by the landlord unless otherwise agreed upon and should be paid on time.
- Hot water should be given in reasonable amounts to all tenants.
Lease and Rent Information
Generally, there is a lot of different information regarding leases and how they work. Not only are there two different types, such as verbal and written, but there are also many different lengths and purposes.
- With leases that have a definite time span (such as one year) then the lease will automatically end at the end of that time span.
- For a month-to-month rental, the landlord can end the lease with a thirty day notice.
- For week-to-week rentals, the landlord can end the lease with a seven day notice.
- If a tenant does not pay his or her rent, then the landlord may offer a 5-day grace period before beginning the eviction process.
- Oral leases are an option, but they are not common or binding in any way. The problem with these types of leases is that they do not hold up in court if a dispute happens between the two parties. Oral leases have no way of being proven.
- Written leases are much more effective and common. They allow for more morally binding agreements to take place.
- All written leases should be produced in multiple copies for both parties and each aspect should be agreed upon by each party.
Information Regarding Discrimination
- It is illegal according to the Federal Fair Housing Act for landlords to reject a tenant or to make dramatic changes to the rental policies based on some sort of discrimination including: race, gender, age, religion, disability, income and more.
- If a tenant has been discriminated against or have any other issues with their landlord, they can file those issues with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Security Deposit and Regular Deposit Information
There are a few different deposits that may be taken at the beginning of the lease. It is important to know the differences in them and what the entail.
- General deposits are often required as a way to hold a tenant's place. They are often returnable and can be lost by the tenant if they do not move in by a specified date.
- Pet deposits are used to help repair any damages that pets may cause. They can also be used as clean up fees after the animal. They may be returned if the unit is left in a clean and repaired state.
- Security deposits cover the cost of any damages made by the tenant or their respective parties. If the deposit is not enough to cover those damages, then more will be charged to the tenant.
- Sometimes a security deposit will be used to pay the last month's rent if the tenant refuses to pay or if the two parties work that out as an agreement.
- If the deposit is not returned or is not returned whole, a written list should be sent to outline what the deposit was spent on.
- Things such as chipped paint or worn carpet and floors are not options to use the security deposit on.
- Things such as broken windows, wall holes, or a messy unit are usually what the deposit is spent on.
- The full deposit or an itemized list should be returned to the tenant within 30 days.
- Tenants may sue their landlords for fraudulent security deposit transactions.
- Tenants should do all they can to get their deposit back. Thoroughly clean the unit after the tenancy is over. Make needed repairs before moving out. Pay all rent on time. Keep open communication with your landlord.
Tenants and landlords should both be familiar with the eviction process and what can be a good base for eviction.
- Landlords may not force a tenant to move by changing the locks, locking them out, moving their belongings, or stopping payment of utilities.
- Sheriffs and policemen with a warrant are the only people who can physically evict a person from a home.
- Each eviction must follow the court procedure in order to be legally correct.
- In the event of an emergency situation (fire, flood, etc.) the landlord can evict their tenants within 48 hours with a written notice.
- Any sort of legal activity such as crime or drugs can call for immediate eviction. In this case, the landlord will only have to provide 24 hour notice.
- If a tenant leaves any belongings in the unit after the tenancy is up, they will have a month to remove them before they become the possession of the landlord. At that point,they can do what they deem necessary.
- The main reason most tenants are evicted is for not paying rent.
The steps taken in eviction are:
- Written notice
- Five days grace period
- Suit filed by landlord
- Tenant served with court summons
- Court hearing within 3 days
- Judgment made
- Move out
- Repossession of property
Other helpful resources
Oklahoma Tenant Screening Background Checks
The American Apartment Owners Association offers extensive tenant screening services as well as tips and tricks to find the proper tenant.
Oklahoma Landlord Forms
Oklahoma requires a variety of forms to rent an apartment. Check out the American Apartment Owner's Association for more information.
To view the Federal Fair Housing Act as well as various other tenant and landlord laws, visit the HUD website.
Car Seat Checks
Bethany Fire Department does NOT conduct car seat checks.
Car seats can be checked in the following ways:
- Car Seat Check events hosted by Safe Kids Oklahoma. Please see Safe Kids Oklahoma Facebook page for dates.
- OK City County Health Department, by appointment. Please call 405-419-4148 for more information.
- Oklahoma State Department of Health, by appointment. Please call 405.271.3430 for more information.
Fire Prevention Education
Bethany Fire & Rescue operates an active fire prevention program. Most of our work is done in schools and daycares within our city. Our in school programming is made possible by state and federal laws that allow us access.
Each hour, there is an average of two fire-related injuries in the United States and Canada. Nine people die in home fires each day.
Fire can happen in any home. The best way to keep yourself and your family safe is to prevent fires from occurring. Practicing "situational awareness" in your daily lives is a big factor in preventing fires. Use care when working with flammable liquids or electrical tools and appliances, and think through "worst case scenarios" and do whatever is necessary to prevent it from happening.
The most important thing you can do to survive a fire is have a working smoke detector in your home. They should be placed where they can be heard from anywhere in the house but especially where people sleep. There are two types of smoke detectors; photoelectric or ionization. We recommend purchasing dual sensor smoke detector that have both types of sensors. The batteries should be replaced twice a year. We recommend on "spring forward" and "fall back" days.
If you need help installing smoke detectors, are interested in a home safety survey or would just like some questions answered, please contact us.
Hazardous Household Waste Disposal
Household hazardous waste disposal collection is available for Bethany residents at 1621 South Portland Avenue in Oklahoma City. Residents with leftover paint, stripper, drain cleaners, old batteries and other hazardous waste should take those items to the collection facility at the 1621 South Portland location or call 405-682-7038. The service is free for Bethany residents however, you must take a current water bill with you as proof of residency.