The Eviction Process in Oklahoma: Rules for Landlords and Property Managers

An overview of Oklahoma eviction rules, forms, and procedures.

In Oklahoma, landlords and property managers must follow the rules set forth by Oklahoma law when evicting a tenant. Because an eviction is a legal proceeding, if the laws and rules are not followed precisely, then the eviction may not be valid. This article will explain the rules for eviction as set forth by Oklahoma law.

Notice for Termination With Cause

The first step in the eviction process is to terminate the lease or rental agreement. A landlord can only do this if the landlord has legal cause. Legal cause is defined by Oklahoma law as unpaid rent, lease violations, and criminal activity. To terminate the tenancy for one of these reasons, the landlord must give the tenant notice. The type of notice will depend on the reason for the eviction.

  • Five-Day Notice to Pay Rent: If the tenant fails to pay rent when it is due, then the landlord can give the tenant a five-day notice to pay rent. This notice must inform the tenant that the tenant has five days to pay rent or the landlord will terminate the lease or rental agreement. If the tenant does not pay rent within five days of receiving the notice, then the landlord can go to court and file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see  Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 41 § 131(B)).  Eviction Notices for Nonpayment of Rent in Oklahoma  has more information.
  • Fifteen-Day Notice to Remedy: If the tenant violates the lease or rental agreement, then the landlord can give the tenant a 15-day notice to remedy. This notice must inform the tenant that the landlord will terminate the lease or rental agreement in 15 days unless the violation is remedied within ten days. If either the landlord or the tenant remedies the violation within the ten-day period, then the landlord must not proceed with the eviction. If the violation is not fixed within ten days, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant at the end of 15 days (see  Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 41 § 132(B)).
  • Immediate Termination: The landlord can immediately terminate the lease or rental agreement and go straight to court to file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant in the following situations (no notice is required):
    • if the tenant causes or threatens to cause harm to the rental unit or to another person on the premises of the rental unit
    • if the tenant commits any criminal activity that threatens the health, safety, or enjoyment of the premises by other tenants; or
    • if the tenant participates in any illegal drug-related activities on the premises of the rental unit.

See  Okla Stat. Ann. tit. 41 § 132.

Notice for Termination Without Cause

If a landlord does not have cause to terminate a lease or rental agreement, then the landlord must wait until the tenancy has expired. In some cases, the landlord may still need to give the tenant notice.

Month-to-Month Tenancy

If the landlord wishes to end a month-to-month tenancy but does not have legal cause, then the landlord can give the tenant a 30-day notice. This notice must inform the tenant that the month-to-month tenancy will end in 30-days and that the tenant must be moved out of the rental unit by that time. If the tenant does not move out by that time, then the landlord can go to court and file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see  Okla Stat. Ann. tit. 41 § 111).Oklahoma Notice Requirements to Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy  has more information.

Fixed-Term Lease

If the landlord wishes to end a fixed-term lease but does not have cause, then the landlord must wait until the lease has expired before expecting the tenant to move. The landlord does not need to give the tenant written notice to move unless the terms of the lease specifically require the landlord to do so.

Tenant Eviction Defenses

Even though a landlord may have valid legal cause to evict a tenant, the tenant might still decide to fight the eviction. The tenant could have a valid legal defense to the eviction, such as the landlord discriminating against the tenant or the landlord failing to maintain the rental unit. If the tenant fights the eviction, this could increase the costs of the eviction lawsuit and allow the tenant more time in the rental unit.  Tenant Defenses to Evictions in Oklahoma  has more information on this topic.

Removal of the Tenant

The only way a landlord can remove a tenant from a rental unit is by winning an eviction lawsuit in court. Even if the landlord is successful with the eviction lawsuit, the landlord still is not authorized to remove the tenant. Only a law enforcement officer with a court order can actually evict the tenant. It is illegal for the landlord to ever attempt to force the tenant to move out of the rental unit.  Illegal Eviction Procedures in Oklahoma  has more information on this topic.

The tenant might leave personal property in the rental unit after the tenant has been evicted. If this happens, the landlord must send written notice to the tenant, allowing the tenant 30 days to claim the property. During this 30-day period, the landlord must store the property in a safe location. If the tenant does not claim the property  within 30 days  of receiving notice, then the landlord can either dispose of the property or sell the property (see  Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 41 § 130)

Rationale for the Rules

Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Oklahoma law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. Although these rules and procedures may seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, and the end result is serious: the tenant has lost a place to live. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new home.

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