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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.