Oklahoma City is one of the best locations for to be a landlord who invests in rental properties. As a landlord, getting your property occupied is a crucial factor that can affect your profitability. However, each landlord has to make sure that they have a proper tenant screening process in place to avoid bad renters.
The ideal renters are those who pay their rents on time, take care of the rental unit like it’s their own, and abide by the rules and regulations as stated in the lease or rental agreement. However, even if a landlord screened their renters carefully, there are times when they still end up with a problematic renter and the tenant violates the lease or rental agreement.
When this happens, some landlords will be left with no other choice than to resort to evictions. This is why it is important for rental property owners to know and understand the Oklahoma eviction laws. Knowing the law will help you proceed with the eviction process smoothly and avoid additional legal problems.
What Is the Eviction Process in Oklahoma?
Here’s a guide:
In general, the Oklahoma eviction process can take around two to seven weeks. Depending on the reason for eviction, this duration may vary and can even take longer, especially if the tenant requests for a jury trial.
Notice for Lease Termination with Legal Cause
There are several reasons why landlords in Oklahoma may begin the eviction process. These include:
- Failure to pay rent for the rental unit.
- Lease violation.
- Staying at the rental even without lease or after the lease ends.
- Involvement in any illegal activity.
In Oklahoma, rent is considered past due the day after the due date. If a tenant is paying rent late, the landlord can begin the eviction process by serving a notice to pay. For tenancy of less than 3 months, the landlord must provide a 5-day notice.
For tenancy of more than three months, the landlord must issue a 10-day notice to pay or evict. If the tenant fails to settle the rent before the notice ends, the landlord can file an eviction case.
If renters do not uphold their responsibilities under the landlord-tenant law and/or rental agreement, the landlord should issue a 15-day notice to comply. Renters are given 10 days to fix the issues, or they will have to move out after the eviction notice expires. If the renters remain at the property after the notice period, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit.
Typical lease violations include:
- damaging the premises.
- having too many people living in the rental property.
- having a pet even with a no-pet policy.
Renters who stay at the property with no lease or after the lease ends can be evicted. The landlord is required to issue a notice to quit. For less than month-to-month tenancy, a 7-day written notice to quit should be given to renters.
For month-to-month tenancy, the landlord should provide a 10-day notice to quit. On the other hand, a 90-day notice to quit is required for renters that pay on a yearly basis.
Oklahoma landlords are not required to issue any notice to renters who are involved in any illegal activity.
For illegal activities, landlords can proceed with eviction proceedings. Landlords have the right to terminate the tenancy immediately with a forcible entry and detainer action.
Serving a Tenant with an Eviction Notice in Oklahoma
If the renters remain on the property after the expiry of the notice, landlords can file a complaint in the appropriate district court. Landlords are required to pay the filing fees of around $85. The sheriff will then serve the summons and complaint to the tenant at least three to five days before the eviction hearing.
Tenant Eviction Defenses in Oklahoma
The defense is a reason why the petitioner/landlord shouldn’t win the case. The tenant may claim that:
- The landlord tried to forcibly remove them and used forcible entry.
- The landlord shuts off utilities and other essential services.
- The landlord failed to provide proper maintenance and did not comply with housing, safety, and health codes.
- The eviction is retaliatory or discriminatory in nature.
Attending Court Hearing in Oklahoma
Once the summons was issued to the tenant, the eviction lawsuit hearing will be held within 5 to 10 days. Renters may file an answer if they wish, but they are not required to attend the court date.
If the renters fail to show up for the hearing, the court will automatically rule in favor of the landlord. However, if a jury trial is requested, the legal eviction process will be longer. Once the judge rules in favor of the landlord, the court will issue a Writ of Possession.
Writ of Possession
In Oklahoma, the writ of possession is issued after the court has ruled in favor of the landlord. This will serve as a final notice for the renters to vacate the rental property and remove their belongings. The tenants will be given 48 hours to move out.
If the tenants remain at the property after 48 hours from the date of the writ of possession, the violation will result in law enforcement officials or a sherif will forcibly remove them from the premises to be evicted . Plus, the tenants will be considered as trespassers. They may be charged a fine up to $500 and/or detained at the county jail for not more than 30 days.
As a landlord, it’s important to know your rights so you can protect yourself from bad tenants. Knowing the legal process for evictions can help you when the need arises. If you don’t want to undergo this kind of stress, it’s also possible to work with a professional and experienced property manager in Oklahoma to handle this procedure for you.
For any specific legal questions, you should talk to a qualified lawyer in Oklahoma. You can also hire a property management company in Oklahoma to help you with your property management needs. Contact Keyrenter Oklahoma City at (405) 454-7000.
Note that this blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in Oklahoma. Laws frequently change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.