Evictions in Oklahoma are regulated by the Landlord and Tenant Act, (Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 41, §§101-136) which provides the rules for both landlords and tenants to follow. Landlords can only evict tenants after receiving a court order. Before filing an eviction lawsuit, also known as a forcible entry and detainer action, the landlord must provide notice to the tenant. The notice requirements for nonpayment of rent are different from the notice requirements for lease violations.
Step 1 – The landlord must provide the tenant or occupant with a notice as to why they are being evicted.
Notice Requirements for Nonpayment of Rent
In Oklahoma, if a tenant does not pay rent on time, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written notice that gives the tenant five days to pay the rent. If the landlord does not receive the rent within the five days, then the landlord can proceed with an eviction lawsuit. If the tenant pays the rent during the five-day period, the landlord must not proceed with the eviction (see Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 41 § 131(B)).
A tenant who is unable to pay the rent may wish to leave rather than be served with a civil suit called a Forcible Entry and Detainer action. If a judgment of possession is entered in favor of the landlord, the tenants will have the court action on his or her public record. This will not only affect the tenants’ credit score but will make it difficult to find another landlord willing to rent to them.
A landlord may accept the rent after the notice, or grace, period has expired, but the tenant should receive a written statement that the landlord will not seek eviction.
Notice Requirements for Lease Violations
If a tenant violates a term of the lease or rental agreement, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written notice requesting the tenant to fix the violation, if possible. The notice must state the condition that has been violated and inform the tenant that unless the tenant fixes the violation within ten days, the rental agreement will terminate. The landlord must wait another five days before filing an eviction lawsuit if the tenant does not fix the violation within the ten-day time period, making a total of fifteen days from when the tenant first received the notice.
A landlord may enter the premises after 10-days to repair the property that is the subject of the eviction or lease violation. And then the landlord may submit the repair costs to the tenant as rent on the next rental due date or for the reasonable value of the repairs along with the rent. The eviction may not go forward if this action is taken.
If either the tenant or the landlord fixes the violation within the ten-day time period, the landlord must not proceed with the eviction (Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 41 § 132(B)).
Examples of lease violations include having unauthorized persons or pets living on the property, creating a nuisance, or failing to maintain the property in a safe and sanitary condition.
If you are terminating a month to month or evicting for any other reason you must give them a 30 day notice to move.
A simple notice is sufficient; you don’t have to notarize the notice or write it on a special form. Explain in the notice the reason for termination and recourse if it’s regarding non-rental payment. For a breach of rental agreement in which there is no cure to the problem, wait for the prescribed time to expire before filing an eviction complaint with the civil court.
If you are requesting payment of a monetary amount, you are required to mail the tenant a copy of the notice as to why you are evicting them via Certified Mail, as well as posting a copy on the door.
After the paperwork has been filed through the court system, it must be hand delivered. This can slow down the process, delaying getting them removed, if they will not answer the door. Also note that the defendant can’t be evicted if you accept money owed or make arraignments after giving them notice, or if you agree not to seek an eviction.
Step 2 – A landlord must file and serve a Summons and Complaint in Forcible Entry and Detainer as the next step in the Oklahoma eviction process.
After the prescribed time has passed, if the tenant has not moved, you will need to file suit in small claims court. A landlord can request damages in this action such as past due rent or costs of repair, court costs and attorney’s fees along with possession but can only collect monetary damages if the tenant is personally served. Indicate the reason you want the tenant to move out in the eviction complaint. Furnish a copy of the written notice you served on the tenant and or certified mailed to them, to the Small Claims Court Clerk, on the second floor of the Tulsa County courthouse.
You will be given a court date. Return on that date to plead your case to the judge. The tenant will be served the summons by a Deputy Sheriff once you have successfully filed with the court
Step 3 – File an Execution
After the hearing takes place, and if you are granted possession of the residence, you will proceed to the Small Claims Desk on the second floor of the Tulsa County Courthouse. That is where you will request to file an Execution.
After filing the paperwork, a Deputy Sheriff will be assigned to post the Eviction Notice at the residence or business. Once it has been posted, State Law requires a minimum of 48 hours be given to any and all occupants, before they will be removed.
The Deputy Sheriff that is assigned the paperwork will contact the person listed on the instruction sheet to notify them that it has been posted and set a time and date to meet at the location to complete the eviction.
At the time of eviction, you or your representative will need to meet the Deputy Sheriff to take physical control of the property. Be prepared to change locks and secure windows at that time. The Deputy Sheriff will remove any persons still on the property at that time. Any property of value, left in the residence will need to be stored for thirty (30) days. The property can be stored on site or moved to a storage facility.
Once these steps are complete the property will be yours to do with as you will.
Per Title 41 O.S. 111, the Landlord and Tenant Act shall not apply if an occupant ‘has no rental agreement with the landlord’ and the landlord has not consented to the occupancy. An occupant who ‘fails to comply’ with a ‘demand to vacate’ shall be guilty of trespass. The landlord does not have to ‘commence eviction proceedings. Once you tell them to vacate and they refuse, it becomes a criminal matter, not a civil matter, call your local law enforcement agency and have them remove them from your property.