This is the next article in our series on Oklahoma Commercial Landlord Tenant Law.  In the last article, we discussed the steps a commercial landlord must follow before he is legally able to evict a tenant.  One of the crucial stages of the entire proceedings is the notice phase.  A defective notice may cause your lawsuit to be thrown out on a technicality, thereby costing you needless time, energy, and money.  Acknowledging the importance of proper notice, we have decided to dedicate this article precisely to the various types of notices.

The purpose of the notice in a commercial tenancy

Before we dive into the specific notice requirements, it’s helpful to understand the underlying purpose of these notices.  While on a practical level, the notice provides tenants with a reasonable time to address concerns or vacate premises, their legal function is to formally end the tenancy.  You cannot evict someone out of a property as long as any form of tenancy remains in effect.  Serving the notice and awaiting the requisite time allows you to effectively terminate the tenancy, thereby extinguishing the tenant’s right to the property.  As a result, you gain the legal standing to file for eviction.

Notice requirements when the commercial tenant is behind on rent

When a commercial tenant is behind on rent for a period of three months or longer, the landlord must serve a ten-day written notice (§41-6).  If the tenant is behind for less than a period of three months, the landlord must serve a five-day written notice (§41-7).  These notices let the tenant know that they are behind on rent and that the lease will be terminated if they don’t pay the past due within the specified notice period.

Notice requirements for a commercial at-will tenancy

In the case that there isn’t a lease for a definite period, you have what’s called a tenancy at will.  The most common type of tenancy at will is the month-to-month tenancy.  This type of tenancy exists even if you do not have a written lease agreement.  A commercial landlord must provide a thirty-day written notice to terminate the tenancy (§41-4).  This gives the tenant a reasonable time to find another rental or move out.

Notice requirements for a tenancy from year to year but with no termination date

For a year-to-year tenancy, but without a specific termination date, a commercial landlord must serve a three-month written notice on the tenant before the end of the year (§41-5).  But if the lease specifies a termination date, then the tenancy terminates on that day and no notice is required.  For example, if a rental contract renews periodically every year, but doesn’t list the day when the contract is to expire, you must serve a three-month notice. But if it specifies that the rental period is to end on November 30th, for instance, then a three-month notice is not required.

Situations where no notice is required

If a commercial lease specifies a termination date or that it fixes a date on which the lease will end, no notice is required.  Its mutually understood that the tenancy will end at the agreed-upon date, and no additional notification is necessary.  Also, if a tenant at will (month-to-month) commits “waste,” which refers to actions that harm or damage the property, the landlord is not required to provide a notice to quit.  Such waste is considered a breach, allowing the landlord to immediately file for eviction.  Notice is also not required if the tenant continues to occupy the property without the landlord’s permission after the tenancy expires.

Contact Niroula Law for all your Landlord Tenant Needs

Whether you need guidance on a landlord-tenant issue or assistance in a commercial eviction process, we are here to help.  We will take care of the entire process from start to finish including serving the notice, filing of the petition, serving of summons, attending the hearing, and filing sheriff’s writ.  We proudly serve Oklahoma County, Logan County, Cleveland County, and Grady County.  Contact us online or by telephone to get in touch with a real estate law firm and speak to a commercial eviction lawyer.