Landlords have the right to collect a security deposit from their residents under the landlord-tenant law. The deposit acts as a financial cushion to some extent, against potential financial damage that may result from their carelessness or negligent actions. 

An example of such negligent action is causing damage exceeding normal wear and tear and failing to make repairs when moving out. In such a case, you’d be able to apply the deductions from their deposit to cover the damages they have caused. 

In the state of Oklahoma, the law tasked with the collection and return of tenants’ security deposits is 41 OK Stat § 41-115. The following is a basic overview of the rules you must familiarize yourself with when renting out a property in any part of Oklahoma. 


Does Oklahoma state how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit? 

No, there is no limit. As a landlord, you are free to charge whatever amount for a security deposit as you please. 

Generally speaking, charging the equivalent of the rent of one or two months’ rent should be enough to provide you with a sufficient financial cushion. 


Can landlords in Oklahoma charge an additional pet deposit? 

Yes, this is permitted under Oklahoma laws. You can charge tenants a reasonable additional pet deposit to tenants who own pets. You must, however, not impose the fee on tenants with service animals. 

pet deposit

Can landlords in Oklahoma charge tenants a non-refundable security deposit? 

No, Oklahoma regards deposits to be the property of the tenant and are due to them, less allowable deductions, at the end of the lease term. 


What deductions can Oklahoma landlords make to tenants’ security deposits? 

Landlords can make certain deductions to their tenants’ security deposits. Oklahoma allows landlords to make the following deductions after a tenant vacates the unit. 

  • Unpaid rent. Tenants must clear all their unpaid rent before moving out. If they don’t, you can use as much of their deposit as necessary to cover the unpaid rent payments. 
  • Damage exceeding normal wear and tear. 


How does the state of Oklahoma define normal wear and tear? 

Oklahoma defines normal wear and tear as the normal deterioration that occurs as a result of normal use of a property. In other words, the damage is not caused by  accidents, carelessness, negligence, or misuse or abuse of the rented premises. 

home repairs

Normal wear and tear include stained bath fixtures, faded wall paint, loose door handles, and dirty grout. Excessive damage, on the other hand, occurs as a result of abuse or negligence by a tenant. Examples of this type of damage include broken or missing tiles or ripped carpet. 


Can tenants in Oklahoma use their deposit as last month’s rent? 

Yes, but only if both parties agree to it in writing. 


How must landlords store their tenants’ security deposits in Oklahoma? 

Oklahoma requires landlords to store their tenants’ security deposits in a certain manner. You must store it in a federally insured account, and not keep it separate from your personal funds. 


Do landlords in Oklahoma have to provide their tenants with a receipt for the security deposit? 

No, this isn’t a requirement for landlords in the state of Oklahoma. Nevertheless, it’s still a good idea to do so to avoid potential issues that may arise. In the notice, you may want your tenant to know about important details such as:

  • The amount of the security deposit you have received. 
  • How you’re storing the deposit. 
  • The day you received it. 
  • What they must do to get a refund of their deposit. 


Can landlords be penalized for unlawfully using their tenant’s security deposit? 

Yes, unlawful use of a tenant’s security deposit is punishable. Among other things, you risk being liable for up to 2X the unlawfully used amount, as well as serving a six months’ jail term. 

security deposit

When must landlords return their tenants’ security deposits in Oklahoma? 

Once your tenant has terminated their lease agreement, you have 45 days to return their deposit – less any allowable deduction. If you’ve made deductions to their deposit, you must send the remaining portion, along with an itemized list of the damages. 

A tenant in the state of Oklahoma has up to six months to claim their security deposit. If they don’t, you may have a right to keep the deposit. 


What happens if you wrongfully withhold your tenant’s security deposit? 

If you fail to return your tenant’s deposit within the required time, there may be some consequences. Among other things, you may have to pay them the entire security deposit, as well as any court-awarded damages, and court and attorney fees. 


What happens if the property’s ownership changes hands during a tenancy? 

There are two options if you decide to sell your rental property, or otherwise the property’s ownership changes hands. One option you’d have is to transfer the security deposit to the incoming landlord. You must then notify the tenant in writing about the incoming landlord’s contact information.

change of ownership

Once you’ve done this, the new landlord will take on the responsibilities of abiding by the security deposit rules. The second option is to return the deposit to the tenant, less any allowable deductions. 


Bottom Line

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Disclaimer: This content isn’t a substitute for professional legal advice from a qualified attorney. Also, laws may change and this post may not be updated at the time you read it. For expert help in any aspect of Oklahoma landlord-tenant laws, Keyrenter Oklahoma City can help.