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By David Ghanizadeh-Khoob
Updated on Jun 10, 2022
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff, Staff Editor.
Oklahoma law contains specific requirements for evicting a tenant and the amount of notice required for various causes. Only a law enforcement officer with a court order can force a tenant out of a rental unit following a court ruling in favor of the landlord.
Evicting a tenant can be a long and tiresome process, but for a good reason. Eviction laws block landlords from forcing tenants onto the streets without time to find a new home. Understanding eviction laws can help tenants ensure their rights are being respected and help landlords operate within the boundaries of the law.
The team behind Jerry, the insurance super app has compiled all the information you need to know about Oklahoma's eviction laws. So let's get into it.
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Oklahoma eviction 101: the ways you can be evicted
Under Oklahoma law, landlords cannot forcibly remove a tenant; only a law enforcement officer with a court order can remove a tenant from the unit. Landlords must follow the correct legal procedure to evict a tenant.
That process begins with providing a formal written notice that specifies the reason for eviction and the relevant dates by which the tenant can rectify the issue and/or move out. The amount of notice required depends on the cause for eviction:
Non-payment of rent
The most common cause for eviction. Landlords must provide a written 5-day Notice to Quit for failure to pay rent. The tenant has that five-day grace period to either pay the amount due or vacate the unit. If the rent is not paid and the tenant remains in the unit, then the landlord can proceed with the eviction lawsuit.
Violation of lease terms
Each lease will have different terms that the tenant must uphold. If a tenant violates the terms of their lease, landlords must deliver a 15-day Notice to Comply. The eviction stops if the violation is remedied within 10 days of the notice. If the issue is not resolved, then the tenant has the remaining five days to vacate the unit. After that, the landlord can proceed with the eviction process.
Examples of lease violations include damaging the property, parking in an unauthorized spot, or smoking in a non-smoking area.
Conducting illegal activity
Oklahoma law does not require any notice to tenants if they engage in illegal activity in the rental unit before a landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. Examples of illegal activity include but are not limited to:
- Damage or harm, or the threat of damage or harm, to the unit or another person on the premises of the property
- Any criminal activity that threatens the health, safety, or enjoyment of premises for other tenants
- The consumption, production, or distribution of controlled substances
Non-renewal of the lease
Landlords must have probable cause to evict a tenant during the term of their tenancy, however, landlords can decide not to renew a lease without any reason. Landlords may, however, be required to provide appropriate notice to end the tenancy at the end of a lease term.
The amount of notice depends on the type of lease:
- Fixed-term leases: No written notice is required by law, however, landlords should let the tenant know of their intentions with enough time to find a new home.
- Month-to-month leases: 30-day written notice is required
- Week-to-week leases: 7-day notice required
Key Takeaway Landlords cannot remove a tenant from a rental unit without winning an eviction lawsuit and must follow proper legal procedures.
A timeline of eviction in Oklahoma
Providing written notice is just the first step to evicting a tenant. The legal process can be quite lengthy, often taking over a month from when the notice is first issued to when the locks are changed.
Here is a rough outline of the eviction timeline:
|Step||How long it typically takes||What to expect|
|Written notice from landlord||5-30 days||Landlords provide the appropriate notice depending on their reason for eviction.|
|Summons and Complaint||Typically delivered a few days after filing||After the appropriate notice period, landlords can file a Summons and Complaint which must be served at least three days before the return date.|
|Hearing||typically 5 to 10 days after summons issued||If the landlord and tenant do not reach an agreement, then a judge will hear the case in court.|
|Eviction||At least 2-days after the hearing||If the court rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant must be given at least two days to move out.|
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Oklahoma law does not require the tenant to answer the complaint before appearing in court. Tenants should prepare their case and collect all relevant supporting documents before the hearing. If tenants fail to appear in court, then the case will usually default in favor of the landlord.
MORE: Lemon law Oklahoma
How to resist eviction in Oklahoma
If your landlord sends you a notice for eviction, the best thing to do is to pay any due rent, rectify any dispute, and communicate with your landlord. If that is not possible, you should do your research and seek legal counsel to improve your chances of success in court.
There are a few cases, though, where you may have a case against your landlord that you can use as part of your defense or even to sue your landlord:
- If your landlord made a procedural mistake, like not providing proper notice or turning off the utilities to your unit
- If your breach of lease terms or failure to pay rent was due to your landlord not properly maintaining the property
- If your landlord is evicting you as a form of retaliation for exercising your rights as a renter
- If your landlord is discriminating against you based on race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, or familial status
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