Must you give notice to your tenant before you file for eviction? What about making repairs, or asking the tenant to pay for damages? is there a certain amount of notice that you are supposed to give the tenant before demanding payment or asking the judge to evict them?

The answer is “yes,” to all of the above. All of these situations require a different type of legal notice that a Landlord must give to a Tenant before taking action. This article will explain the different types legal notices, and when to use which type for the situation you find yourself in.

Oklahoma Law requires Landlords to give different amounts of Notice to Tenants for different situations

There are many different legal Notices required under Oklahoma landlord-tenant law, because there are different situations that arise during a landlord-tenant relationship.

There may be a situation where a tenant does not pay rent on time. There may be a situation where repairs need to be made and the tenant refuses. Then there are those incidents where a guest of a tenant destroys something or harms another tenant’s person or property. Of course, you also have those tenants who don’t move out on time, even though the lease has ended. All of these are par for the course as a landlord in Oklahoma.

However, this does not mean that owning real estate in Oklahoma is a bad business or bad investment. It just means that you need to know these things in advance, and to be prepared. Having an experienced landlord lawyer that you can call is never a bad idea. But it is also important to know what your obligations as a landlord are to the tenant(s) that you want to evict.

30-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy

The first type of notice we will discuss is the thirty day notice that is required in order to end a month-to-month rental agreement. See Title 41, Oklahoma Statutes, § 111(A).

How do you evict a month-to-month tenant that keeps paying their rent on time? You must first terminate the month-to-month tenancy. In order to do this, you must serve a 30-Day Notice that explains you are ending the rental agreement thirty days from now. The thirty days does not actually start running until the tenant receives the notice. How do you know if they have received it? Well, you either personally serve them, which means you hand-deliver the notice to the tenant. Or you post it on their door and also send a copy by certified mail. Use your certified mail receipt as proof to show the judge. Start the clock the day you post the notice, and use the certified mail receipt to back you up.

But there is a safer way. And that is to run on normal monthly increments. When the tenant comes in to pay rent, deliver the 30-day notice at the same time. If they pay online or by mailing a check, then serve your notice, and allow extra time. Try to coordinate it so the notice period ends at the beginning of the next monthly billing cycle.

15-Day Notice of Termination if not cured within 10 Days

This one is kind of confusing, but so is much of the law in the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. I can help you understand this one. Just give me some space to explain.

What happens if your tenant is not complying with the terms of the lease? Or the rules and regulations you have for the apartment complex? So long as the rules or lease terms are for legitimate purposes, they can be enforced in court.

In addition to a Landlord or apartment complex’s rules and regulations, Oklahoma law also has rules a tenant must follow, such as to keep the property in good repair, not cause damage, and not harm other tenants.

Finally, Landlords are required to keep the property habitable, meaning a safe place to live within our current standards of living. Oklahoma law actually has specifics are what this means. But basically, a Landlord has to fix things from time to time. And in order to fix things, the Landlord must be able to come inside and access the property.

Serving Notice of Specific Violations that must be cured, fixed, or repaired within 10 days 

Now, what does a landlord do if the Tenant refuses to cooperate in one of the above scenarios? Asked another way, what happens if:

  1. The Tenant refuses to abide by certain terms of the lease ( or rules & regulations); or
  2. The Tenant refuses to maintain in good working order or fix something they damaged; or
  3. The tenant refuses to allow the Landlord to enter the property to make repairs?

In these situations, the Landlord must serve a Notice Terminating the Lease unless cured within ten days. The confusing part is that the lease does not terminate for fifteen days, but the tenant only has ten days to fix the problem.

Further, the Notice must specify what acts or omissions of the tenant constitute noncompliance with the lease, the rules, or the landlord’s ability to fix/repair/maintain the property.

Authority: Title 41, Okla. Stat. § 132.

5-Day Notice to Cure or Quit

This is the most common type of notice regularly served, and one you may already be familiar with. This is the notice that is required to be served on a tenant before filing for an eviction on the basis of failure to pay rent.

If a tenant fails to pay rent on the date that rent is due, the Landlord must first give the tenant five days notice to “cure the default.” If the tenant does “cure” the default by paying the rent (and any late fees), then the tenant gets to remain in possession of the property. However, if the tenant fails to pay rent within five days of receiving this notice, then the Landlord may cancel the rental agreement, whether there is a written lease or not. This applies to month-to-month tenancies.

This notice is a demand for payment. Any demand for payment is also considered a demand for possession. The tenant may pay or vacate. If the tenant does not pay or vacate, the landlord may file for Forcible Entry and Detainer, i.e. for eviction of the tenant and possession of the premises.

Authority: Title 41, Okla. Stat. § 131

1-Day Notice to Enter and Repair

Remember how we explained earlier that Landlords have a duty to keep the place habitable and in otherwise good working order? That is true, and in order to do so, the Landlord may need to enter the tenant’s living space to carry out this duty.

In the absence of a complete emergency, the Landlord should give the tenant at least one day of notice before entering the dwelling.

Authority: Title 41, Okla. Stat. § 128(C).

No Notice Required in Emergency Situations

If there is an emergency, and a landlord needs to enter the Tenant’s private dwelling, the Landlord may do so. There is no requirement to give notice to a tenant, because in the event of an actual emergency, there is no time to be able to give the tenant notice. Therefore, if a landlord needs to enter the tenant’s dwelling in the event of an emergency, he or she may do so without penalty.

Contact the Oklahoma Landlord Lawyer to draft and serve your legal notices to your Tenants

If you have questions about your tenants, your rights, your obligations as a landlord in Oklahoma, we encourage to contact us.

Travis Charles Smith has been active in litigation throughout the state since 2009. When it comes to evictions, he strictly represents the landlord. If you are a residential landlord, commercial landlord, property management company, or real estate investor with property in Oklahoma, Travis can help you protect your asset by removing defaulted tenants from the property.

To get started, send us an email or call us at 405-701-6016.