This article is for Landlords that manage rental property in Oklahoma. Whether you live in Oklahoma, or live out-of-state, as a landlord your goal is to manage your properties efficiently, so you can get the most return on your investment with as little headache as possible.
You have heard of apartment complexes having rules and regulations. What are those, and how are they different from the terms of a lease agreement? I’ll explain that in this article, so that you can know how to use rules and regulations for your own benefit in your rental properties.
What are Rules and Regulations in regards to rental properties in Oklahoma?
Rules and Regulations are exactly what they sound like: rules that tenants must follow. For example, a Landlord could have a rule that Tenants are not allowed to park on the grass, but must park in the driveway or assigned area. A landlord could have other rules, such as no smoking on the property or no bbq grills on the patio.
The main purpose of rules and regulations at your rental property is to minimize wear and tear, as well as avoid potential accidents, by disallowing activities that could result in serious injury and property damage. A rule prohibiting charcoal grills could be for that reason. Sure, properly administered, there is nothing to worry about. But a tenant who is not paying attention could start a fire. It is up to the Landlord to decide what will and will not be allowed.
In addition to preservation of the rental property, property managers often institute rules and regs to govern tenant relations, especially in multifamily properties. Sharing parking or sharing laundry can cause civil unrest if there are not rules in place.
Is it legal in Oklahoma for a Landlord to make tenants follow Rules and Regulations?
Yes, Oklahoma law explicitly allows Landlords to adopt rules and regulations concerning the tenant’s use and occupancy of the rental property. Title 41, Okla. Statutes, § 126. There are limitations, however.
Any rule that a Landlord decides to create is only enforceable against a Tenant if it meets certain criteria. First, is the purpose of the rule itself.
The rule must be for the purpose of:
- promoting convenience, peace, safety, or welfare of the tenants; or
- preserving the property from abusive use; or
- to make fair distribution of services and facilities for all of the tenants.
So those are the reasons for creating a rule or regulation on your rental property. In addition, a rule is only legal if it also:
- applies to all tenants in a fair manner;
- Is explicit in its prohibitions, imitations, or affirmative directions on the expected tenant conduct, so that the Tenant knows what to do or not do;
- Is not for the purpose of evading landlord duties.
Lastly, the Tenant must have notice of the rule at the time he or she enters the rental agreement. If the rule is adopted later on during the tenancy, the Landlord must give the tenant notice of the new rule.
Is a Landlord required to put the Rules and Regulations in writing?
Technically, no. However, the Landlord must give the tenant notice of the rule or else the Landlord cannot enforce the rule. That means that the landlord or property manager can verbally explain the rules, as well as post signs throughout the property (for example, “No Swimming after 10 p.m.” near the pool).
As a matter of good practice, Landlords should always put their rules and regulations in writing. Important rules that affect performance of the contract should be in the lease agreement, and other rules can be on a separate sheet of paper that a tenant signs and acknowledges. Copies of everything should always be provided to the tenant.
How are Rules & Regulations different from terms of the lease?
In some ways, they are not. Anything that you want to be a condition of residency, and that you want to have the ability to enforce legally, is a really the same thing. However, you can separate these things, and many property managers choose to do so.
For example, a written lease can contain important legal information, such how the rent should be paid (for example: direct deposit, no cash, etc). However, a landlord might have a swimming pool, and wish to have those rules posted on a sign or on a separate sheet of paper that the tenant signs.
However, when it comes time to enforcement, they are one in the same. Lease terms and property rules are both just things a Landlord wants a tenant to do or not do, and that can be enforced through the legal process (eviction or contract penalty in the form of a fee).
The enforcement of lease violations is the same process as enforcing violations of rules and regulations, which we explain below.
Can you evict a Tenant for not following the Rules and Regulations of the rental property in Oklahoma?
Yes, you can evict a tenant for not following the rules, provided that you follow the proper legal procedures. If the landlord does not follow the proper legal procedures, he or she will not be able to legally evict the tenant. What is a good landlord supposed to do if a Tenant violates one of the rules or regulations?
First, the Landlord must deliver written notice to the Tenant of the violation. 41 O.S. § 132. The notice must specify exactly what acts or omissions of the tenant that amount to a rule violation. However, you can’t just send an email or a text message to the Tenant. You must serve this notice the same way you would serve a 5-Day Eviction notice.
I wrote an entire article on how to evict a tenant for violating the rules and regulations of the rental property, that explains everything you need to know about the process.
Hire the experienced Landlord-Tenant lawyer, Travis Charles Smith
My name is Travis Charles Smith, I am an attorney in Oklahoma City and I represent landlords. My clients range from out-of-state investors, to local Landlords. I handle evictions for Landlords, as well as other types of legal services, such as drafting leases and legal notices, as well as litigation. If you would like more information or help with your case, call my office at (405) 724-8112, or send us an email.