If you are a landlord in Oklahoma County and seeking to evict a tenant who has failed to pay rent when it’s due, violated the terms of the rental agreement, or is currently living in the property after the lease has expired without your permission, we are here to help.  We move swiftly in these matters and get the problem tenant out of the property so you can get the house rent ready and get back to generating cash flow.

Under the Oklahoma eviction laws, to evict someone you must first serve a proper notice, then file an eviction lawsuit with the court, and finally attend an eviction hearing where the judge will rule on the matter.  If you would like more details on the eviction process, please read my other article on the topic – Oklahoma Residential Eviction laws: A Guide for Landlords and Property Managers.

Other articles on the topic:

If you are faced with a tenant who has fallen behind on rent and despite your attempt to resolve the issue refuses to pay, give us a call, or contact us by filling out the Contact Us Form. We are an Oklahoma City law firm experienced in assisting landlords in an Oklahoma eviction proceedings and will help you legally remove the nonpaying client from the premises.

What type of notice must a Landlord give to evict someone in Oklahoma County?

Notice is the very first step in the eviction process, and the type of notice you must give depends on the specific facts of the case.  Under the law, the notice must be served in one of the three ways: (1) served in person, (2) served to someone at least 12 years old who also lives in the property, (3) posted conspicuously at the property and sent via certified mail.

If you have a written rental agreement with the Tenant, and the Tenant has violated a certain term of the lease, you may terminate the lease by serving a written notice to the tenant specifying the violation and stating that the agreement will terminate in 15 days, unless such violations are remedied in the next 10 days.

If there is no written agreement between you and the Tenant, or that the agreement is to create a month-to-month tenancy, or that you have an at-will tenancy, then you must serve a 30-day written notice to quit in order to terminate the tenancy.  For example, if you let a family or a friend stay on your property without a written lease, and they paid you for the month’s rent, as soon as they start living on the property a month-to-month tenancy is created.  Or, if you allow a Tenant to live on your property and neither of you agreed to the term of the lease, then you have what’s called a tenancy at will.  Under either of these situations, a month-to-month tenancy or a tenancy at will, you are required to give a 30-day notice to quit.  gHowever, if the tenancy was for any durations less than 30 days, for example, a week to week, then a 7-day notice to quit may suffice.

If the Tenant fails to pay his rent when due, regardless of whether you have a written lease agreement, a month-to-month tenancy, or an at-will tenancy, you must serve a 5-Day Demand to Pay written notice on the Tenant. If the Tenant fails to pay the amount that’s due within 5 days, you may proceed with the eviction proceeding by filing a petition with the county court clerk.

If the Tenant continues to live on the property without your permission after the rental agreement has expired, he or she is considered to be a holdover tenant, and in such a situation you may immediately file an eviction action – no written notice is required. Please be aware that if you accept cash from a holdover tenant, or deposit a rent check in your bank account you would create a month-to-month tenancy. In that case, you will have to give a 30-day written notice to quit before you may initiate an eviction proceeding.

How do I deal with a Tenant who doesn’t pay rent?

The best approach to address a situation where a Tenant has fallen behind on the rent or refuses to pay is to simply talk to the person. Despite your attempt to resolve the situation by dialogue, if the Tenant is still behind on the rent or refuses to pay rent, you may serve the Tenant with a 5 Day Demand to Pay notice. The 5-day demand notice in essence is a demand to vacate the premises unless the Tenant pays the rent that is due – if the Tenant fails to pay the amount due in those 5 days, you have successfully terminated the rental agreement, and you may proceed with the eviction lawsuit.

Can a Landlord change locks on the property if the Tenant does not pay?

Changing locks on the property, cutting utilities, or throwing out a Tenant’s property are all considered to be illegal eviction, and if a Tenant is injured because of the landlord’s acts, the Landlord may be liable for the damages.  For example, if you lock a Tenant out by changing the lock and the Tenant is unable to access his life-saving medications stored in the house, you may be liable if he is hurt or dies from the lack of such medication.  It’s not recommended to use self-help techniques like changing the locks, locking the Tenant out, or disposing of the Tenant’s property.  Instead, we would suggest that you take the legal route of serving a proper notice, initiating a forcible entry and detainer (FED) action, and attending an eviction hearing.  At the hearing, if the judge rules in your favor and grants you an eviction order, you may now legally evict the person by changing the locks.  Please note that it’s always a good idea to file a writ of execution and have a Sheriff serve the eviction order on the Tenant and after 48 hours forcibly remove the Tenant if necessary. This way, if the Tenant gets unruly or violent, you have the sheriff to ensure your safety.