In Oklahoma County, it takes about seven to ten days from the filing of the eviction lawsuit until the day of court. Assuming everything has been done correctly, the landlord should be able to obtain a judgment for possession the day of the hearing, and obtain forcible entry to the premises within 48 hours with the assistance of the sheriff.
This article for landlords and property managers will explain how to ensure that your eviction runs smoothly, so that you can get back possession of your premises.
Landlord must first have legal basis for Evicting a Tenant in Oklahoma
Before asking the courts to intervene, a Landlord must first have a legal basis for evicting a tenant. It could be that the lease ended and the tenant failed to move out. It could be that the tenant has failed to pay rent that month. It further could be that the tenant has breached the lease agreement, perhaps by violating certain policies or causing damage to the property.
Once an evidentiary basis for the eviction has been clearly established, the Landlord may be required to then give notice to the tenant.
Landlord must give notice to Tenant before filing Eviction Lawsuit
If the lease has expired, then no additional notice is required to be given, and the landlord can immediately file a lawsuit. But if the tenant merely failed to pay rent for the month, the Landlord must give a five-day notice to quit possession. And if the tenant has been renting month to month, and the tenant has paid for the current month’s rent, then the landlord must give a full 30 days notice to the Tenant.
The Landlord must file the eviction lawsuit
After giving notice to the tenant, the next step in the eviction process is to file a lawsuit. In Oklahoma, eviction lawsuits are called Petitions for Forcible Entry and Detainer.
At the time of filing, the court clerk will assign a court hearing for the judge to hear the eviction case. This hearing will be at least five days from the date of filing. In Oklahoma County, these hearings are usually 7 to 10 days after the eviction lawsuit is filed.
The Eviction Hearing will be five days or more after the Eviction lawsuit in Oklahoma County
Although the Tenant is entitled to five days of notice prior to being evicted, the eviction lawsuit can still be filed the same day that the 5-Day Notice to Quit is posted. The reason is that Oklahoma law allows a landlord to cancel and terminate the lease if the tenant fails to pay past-due rent within five days of any demand made by the landlord.
Essentially, once the landlord makes demand for the rent to be paid, the landlord can terminate the lease five days thereafter. As the eviction hearing does not occur within five days of the notice/demand for payment, the hearing and filing are proper.
This does not mean that a landlord should always file the eviction lawsuit the same day as the service of the notice to quit or demand for payment. The landlord does have that option. However, every situation is different and should be dealt with accordingly.
What is a Landlord supposed to do at the Eviction Hearing?
At the eviction hearing, the Landlord must prove to the judge both the merits of the case, as well as compliance with the procedural legal requirements for evictions.
First, the Landlord must prove the existence of the obligation, i.e. the existence of the rental arrangement. The landlord or agent will either testify to an oral rental agreement, or provide the written lease as evidence. The landlord must then assert and prove that the tenant has failed to pay rent. During this time, the judge will take testimony from both the landlord and the tenant, and will certainly allow the tenant to explain or assert any defenses to non-payment.
After hearing evidence of non-payment, the Court will then ask the Landlord to prove that it complied with all procedural requirements. The Judge will ask to see proof of the 5-Day Notice. If the tenant is not present at the hearing, the judge will ask to see proof of service of the notice, as well as proof of service of the forcible entry and detainer lawsuit.
If satisfied with proof of the validity of the debt, and the proof of service and compliance with procedure, the court will enter judgment for possession of the premises to the landlord. If not satisfied, the court may enter judgment for the tenant, or may continue the hearing to allow for additional hearing of evidence from either the landlord or the tenant.
How to Obtain a Writ of Assistance from the Sheriff to remove a tenant from possession of premises in Oklahoma County
A Writ of Assistance is a court order that directs the sheriff to assist with the enforcement of a previous court order. In the context of an eviction, a Writ of Assistance is when a judge tells the sheriff to force a tenant to give possession back to the landlord.
In order to obtain a Writ of Assistance in Oklahoma, the landlord must first obtain a judgment for possession of the property. Once the Landlord has the Judgment for possession, the landlord may then file a new document asking the court for the assistance of the sheriff in carrying out the eviction. The landlord must first pay a filing fee before see the judge again. After filing the application for the writ, the landlord would then present the application and proposed order to the judge.
After the judge approves and signs the Writ, the landlord must then deliver the writ to the sheriff, as well as pay the sheriff’s fee for carrying out the writ. The sheriff will then, within 48 hours, proceed to the property to ensure that the tenant has vacated the premises. The sheriff will then “return possession” to the landlord. If the tenant has not vacated the premises, in violation of the court’s order, the Sheriff may eject the tenant or place under arrest.
If you are a Landlord, contact an Eviction Lawyer for all of these services
If you are a landlord or property manager, we can help you with evicting tenants in Oklahoma County. Travis Charles Smith has been practicing civil litigation throughout Oklahoma since 2009. Located in Downtown Oklahoma City, Travis represents landlords and property managers in evictions. Our goal is always to work as quickly as possible to return possession of the property back to the landlord, so you can resume your business, cut your losses, and cash flow the property.
For more information, or to get started immediately, contact us about your case.