Due to the overwhelming amount
of landlord/tenant law questions to our firm, Atkins & Markoff
would like to provide some basic information via our website.
This does not constitute legal advice. Our firm does not currently
handle landlord/tenant issues and we cannot provide legal advice
via phone calls or email at this time. We apologize for this
inconvenience; however, we hope that the information contained
in the website will answer the majority of your questions.
Interpreting and understanding Oklahoma law as it relates
to the rights of both the landlord and the tenant can be
equal parts daunting and confusing. However, it is also
understand the legal ramifications of landlord/tenant contract
violations, and how they can impact your personal and financial
future. The following are a list of commonly-asked questions
by tenants relating to landlord/tenant responsibilities:
What is the definition of a landlord?
A landlord is the owner of piece of real property (i.e.
a "rental property"), who leases it to another
person. The landlord allows a tenant the usage and occupation
of his/her property in exchange for the monthly payment
What is the definition of a tenant?
A tenant is a person who has the right to use and occupy
rental property leased from a landlord. The tenant still
remains responsible for the payment of rent to the landlord
and any damages to the property caused by the tenant or
related parties during the time of occupancy.
the definition of a rental agreement?
A lease, sometimes also referred to as a rental agreement,
is an agreement between a landlord and a tenant which gives
the tenant the right to use and occupy rental property
for a period of time. A lease can be an oral agreement,
or it can be in writing. If the lease extends beyond one
year, most states require that it be in writing. At the
end of the lease, use and possession of rental property
must be returned to the landlord. In addition to other
responsibilities, a lease requires the tenant to pay the
landlord a specified amount of money each month; this payment
is called rent.
Can a landlord enter a tenant’s
home without previous notice?
The landlord can enter in a reasonable
way at reasonable times to inspect, make repairs, supply
necessary services, to show the building to potential buyers,
tenants, workmen, etc. Unless there is an emergency, the
landlord should give the tenant at least one day's notice
of intent to enter.
What if a tenant fails to move when the rental contract
A landlord may immediately sue for the tenant’s
eviction and any damages incurred during the period where
the contract has been breached. The landlord also may collect
twice the amount of rent if the tenant’s holdover
is deemed not to be in good faith.
What is a security deposit, and how can a tenant get
their deposit back?
A landlord can require a security deposit, which is
essentially monetary protection against possible damages
and or other unforeseen occurrences incurred during the
time of which the agreements of the rental contract are
in effect. The deposit must be kept in a federally insured
account in Oklahoma, separate from the landlord's own funds
order to re-coup the funds, the tenant must request the
return of the money in writing within six months after
the lease has ended. A tenant should provide the landlord
with a forwarding address or new address where the deposit
is to be mailed. The landlord must return it, with a written
explanation of any deduction for damages or rent owing,
within 30 days after the written request. If the tenant
does not request a refund in writing, the landlord may
keep the deposit once the six months is up.
If your landlord
sells the house or apartment, you must receive either a
refund for your deposit or the name and address of the
new owner who will return the refund at the end of the
What are a tenant’s primary
A tenant must keep their living area clean and safe;
dispose properly of all trash; keep plumbing fixtures clean;
use facilities safely, and not deliberately or carelessly
destroy anything which belongs to the landlord. The tenant
also must comply with the lease and all proper rules and
not allow anything to be done which would disturb other
Can a landlord end a lease at their own discretion?
If a tenant has a lease with a specific expiration date,
the landlord cannot evict them before that date unless
they fail to pay rent, or otherwise default in some obligation
stipulated in the lease which they fail to acknowledge
after receiving notice from the landlord.
If a tenant does not pay rent within five days after written
notice of the landlord's written demand for payment, the
landlord may terminate the rental agreement.
to a month-to-month lease, Oklahoma law stipulates the
landlord can give a tenant 30 days written notice, or the
tenant can give the landlord 30 days written notice to
end the lease at any time.
With a week-to-week lease, the same rules apply, but the
tenant need only give or receive one week's notice.
if there are stipulations in the rental agreement that
are different from the Oklahoma Landlord-Tenant law?
Any stipulation that conflicts with the Landlord-Tenant
act is unenforceable.
Where should a tenant send notices?
A landlord must give information in writing as to the
name and address of the owner, manager or other person
who is authorized to accept notices from tenants. This
must be kept current. If this disclosure is not made, the
person who signs the lease, as landlord, has all the duties
of a landlord and must accept notices and make repairs.
If a tenant doesn’t have a signed agreement with
a landlord, can they move out anytime they want?
No. Oklahoma requires by statute that a tenant give
30 days notice before moving out. Unless required otherwise
by a city's laws or ordinances, it's best to put a notice
in a letter to the landlord and hand-deliver it, asking
for a signed receipt for the delivery, or send it certified
mail, with a return receipt requested.
Who is liable
for property damage incurred by structural flaws?
Generally, a landlord will not be liable for damage
to personal property arising from a leaky roof or broken
pipe. Most rental contracts provide that the tenant is
responsible for these losses and the courts enforce the
landlord's position. The best solution is for the renter
to purchase a renter's insurance policy.