Are you a landlord in Oklahoma? If so, you are probably aware of the many landlord-tenant laws involved with renting a property. As you know, each state usually has its own set of laws regarding rental homes. This includes the process of breaking a lease!
As a landlord in Oklahoma, you never want a lease agreement to end before you expect it to. However, things happen, and it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the legal process should one of your renters wish to end their tenancy early.
So, if you’re curious about Oklahoma’s rules and regulations regarding the process of breaking a lease, keep reading!
Our comprehensive guide will take you through both justifiable and unjustifiable reasons a renter may wish to end their tenancy, in addition to information that you should include in your lease agreements to avoid any legal issues with your tenants.
Rental Agreement in Oklahoma
When you write up a lease agreement, it is crucial to ensure that the wording is clear and leaves no room for confusion or self-interpretation with your tenants. This also means that when your renter signs the lease agreement, it is your responsibility as the landlord to outline any penalties for unjustifiably breaking a lease.
Your lease agreement should include the following information:
- Written Notice: In Oklahoma, a tenant must provide the landlord with a specific amount of written notice prior to breaking a lease. For month-to-month leases, a 30 days notice is required. If the lease is less than month-to-month, then the notice must be for at least 7 days.
- Your responsibility to re-rent the home: As a landlord in Oklahoma, state law requires you to make reasonable efforts to re-rent the home when their renters break the lease in order to mitigate damages.
- The tenant’s right to sublet the unit: In Oklahoma, your tenant needs to gain your written consent before subletting the rental home. However, as a landlord you may only reject the request based on legitimate factors, as Oklahoma law states that a landlord may not unreasonably refuse a subtenant.
Unjustifiable Reasons to Break a Lease
In Oklahoma, a tenant may only break a lease without penalty for a justified reason. The following is a list of reasons that are unjustified, and they will not provide your tenant with any legal protection regarding the lease being broken.
- The tenant purchased their own house.
- They are moving for school or a new job.
- The tenant wishes to upgrade or downgrade their living situation.
- They are moving in with a significant other.
- They are relocating in order to be closer to their family.
If the tenant attempts to break their lease early for any of the above reasons, then they will be provided with no legal protection from any penalties, and they may suffer from tangible consequences. The best course of action in this case would be to request the landlord to agree to a mutual termination of the tenancy.
Justifiable Reasons to Break a Lease
While there are many circumstances in which a tenant may not break their lease early, there are some circumstances that allow them to do so without penalty. The following are the justified reasons for breaking a lease in Oklahoma:
Early Termination Clause
As a landlord, you have the option to include a clause in your lease that allows your tenant to end the lease early in exchange for a penalty or fee. This fee is usually equal to 2 months rent and would still require a specific amount of written notice from the tenant.
Active Military Duty
If your tenant is an active member of the US military, they may be relocated due to deployment or a permanent change of station during their tenancy. If this should happen, they will be legally allowed to break their lease without penalty.
In order to break their lease, the tenant must provide you with proof that their lease agreement was signed prior to being on active duty, in addition to proving that they will be on active duty for at least 90 days.
Further, they must provide written notice to you the landlord, accompanied by a copy of their relocation orders or a letter from their commanding officer.
As a landlord, it is important to always ensure your rental home is habitable and safe for your tenants to live in. But what qualities are required in a property for it to be deemed habitable? The following is what must be provided to your tenants:
- Clean and safe common areas.
- Regular maintenance.
- Removal of garbage.
- Functioning heat and water.
As a landlord, you always want to respect your tenants’ right to privacy. To ensure that you continue to protect your tenants rights, always provide them with at least one days’ notice before entering the property, as this is required under Oklahoma state law.
Other Reasons for Breaking a Lease
There are quite a few other reasons that may allow a tenant to break their lease, however these reasons are not necessarily automatic and must be determined by a court:
- A landlord violates the terms of the lease agreement.
- The lease contract was illegal or unenforceable.
- Landlord fails to provide the tenant with mandatory disclosures regarding the rental property prior to signing the lease.
- The tenant is a senior citizen or has a health issue that requires them to terminate the tenancy.
- The tenant is a victim of domestic violence.
Now you have everything you need to know regarding the laws on breaking a lease in Oklahoma. However, if you have any questions about this topic or any other aspect of your rental property, don’t hesitate to contact us!
As the top property management company in Oklahoma, we are well versed in all things related to rental homes and can provide you with the guidance that you need. Our company has endless experience working with landlords and helping them succeed. So what are you waiting for? Contact Keyrenter Oklahoma City today!