Timeline. Evicting a tenant in Oklahoma can take around two to seven weeks, depending on the reason for the eviction. If tenants request a jury trial, the process can take longer (read more).
Introduction. Oklahoma landlords can evict a tenant for a number of legal reasons. It is important for an Oklahoma landlord to follow all state rules, including the rules of the Landlord and Tenant Act for a valid eviction. Below are the individual steps of the eviction process in Oklahoma.
Step 1: Notice is Posted
Landlords in Oklahoma can begin the eviction process for several reasons, including:
- Nonpayment of Rent – Once rent is past due, notice must be served giving the tenant the option to pay rent in order to avoid eviction.
- Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement – If a tenant violates a provision of a written lease or rental agreement, the landlord is required to give the tenant the opportunity to correct the issue before moving forward with the eviction process.
- No Lease / End of Lease Term (Tenant at Will) – If there is no lease or the term of the lease has ended, the landlord does not need an additional reason to end the tenancy as long as proper notice is given.
- Illegal Activity – If a tenant is engaged in illegal activity, landlords are not required to provide written notice prior to beginning the eviction process.
- Evicting a Squatter. If the individual occupying the property did not have the permission of the landlord when initially moving in, does not have a lease (or verbal agreement) and has no history of paying rent, then a landlord/tenant relationship may not be established. As a result, the normal eviction process may not be applicable (read more).
- Service of Notice. Notice shall be served to the tenant in person. If the tenant cannot be found, it may be served to any person residing in the rental unit who is over the age of 12. If there is no person present, the notice may be placed in a conspicuous place on the rental unit. A copy shall be mailed via certified mail to the tenants last known address or through the Firm Mailing Book for Accountable Mail as provided by the United States Post Office.
Each possible ground for eviction has its own rules for how the process starts.
Eviction Process for Nonpayment of Rent
A landlord is allowed to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent on time.
According to Oklahoma law, rent is considered late the day after it’s due; grace periods, if any, are addressed in the lease or rental agreement.
The amount of time required on the notice depends on how long the tenant has resided at the rental unit.
- Tenancy Less Than Three Months – If a tenant resides on the rental property less than three months and rent is past due, the landlord must provide tenants with a 5-Day Notice to Pay. This notice gives the tenant the option to pay the past due amount in full within five days in order to avoid eviction.
- Tenancy More Than Three Months – If a tenant resides on the rental property more than three months and rent is past due, the landlord must provide the tenant with a 10-Day Notice to Pay. The notice gives the tenant the option to pay the past due amount in full within 10 days.
If the tenant does not pay the rent due by the end of the notice period and remains on the property, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement
A tenant can be evicted in Oklahoma if they do not uphold their responsibilities under the terms of a written lease or rental agreement.
Oklahoma landlords must provide tenants with a 15-Day Notice to Comply, giving the tenant 10 days to correct or “cure” the issue to avoid eviction.
If the tenant doesn’t correct the issue within 10 days, they will need to move out within the 15-day deadline on the notice.
Typical lease violations under this category could include things like damaging the rental property, having too many people residing in the rental unit, and having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy.
Note that illegal activity is not included in this category.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may continue with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for No Lease / End of Lease
In the state of Oklahoma, if tenants “hold over,” or stay in the rental unit after the rental term has expired, then the landlord must give tenants notice before evicting them. This can include tenants without a written lease and week-to-week and month-to-month tenants.
Often this type of eviction applies to tenants who are at the end of their lease and the landlord doesn’t want to renew.
The amount of time required in the notice depends on the type of tenancy.
- Less Than Month-to-Month – If rent is paid in any period less than monthly, such as week-to-week, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 7-Day Notice to Quit.
- Month-to-Month or At-Will Tenants– If rent is paid on a month-to-month basis, or tenants have an at-will tenancy, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 30-Day Notice to Quit.
- Year-to-Year – If rent is paid on a year-to-year basis, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 90-Day Notice to Quit.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Illegal Activity
Landlords are not required to give tenants who are involved in illegal activity prior written notice before proceeding with an eviction action.
In the state of Oklahoma, illegal activity includes:
- Criminal activity that threatens the health, safety or peaceful enjoyment of other tenants.
- Drug-related criminal activity.
In addition, tenants may be evicted for any of the following felony convictions:
- Possession of drug or chemicals.
- Possession of drug or chemicals with intent to manufacture or distribute.
- Sex offenses including but not limited to any form of indecent exposure, sexual assault or sexually related offenses.
- Assault or battery.
- Any felony that involves violence against someone else.
- Any felony specifically included in the written lease or rental agreement.
Oklahoma landlords may proceed directly to Step 2 below without giving tenants prior written notice and may terminate the tenancy immediately with a forcible entry and detainer action.
Step 2: Complaint is Filed and Served
As the next step in the eviction process, Oklahoma landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate district court. In Oklahoma, this costs $85 in filing fees.
The summons and complaint may be served on the tenant by the sheriff’s office or anyone else allowed to serve process at least three days prior to the hearing through one of the following methods:
- Giving a copy to the tenant in person;
- Leaving a copy with someone over the age of 15 residing on the rental property;
- Mailing a copy via certified mail with a return receipt;
- Posting a copy in a conspicuous place on the rental unit (only if all other methods are unsuccessful) and mailing a copy via certified mail.
If the summons and complaint are posted on the rental unit, it must be done at least five days prior to the eviction hearing.
Three to five days. The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant at least three to five days prior to the eviction hearing, depending on the service method chosen.
Step 3: Court Hearing and Judgment
The eviction hearing will be held 5-10 days after the date the summons was issued by the court.
Tenants may file a formal, written answer with the court if they wish, but it is not required for tenants to attend the eviction hearing.
If the tenant fails to appear for the hearing, the judicial officer may issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant will have to move out.
However, if either the landlord or tenant requests a jury trial, this will add more time to the process.
If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a writ of execution will be issued, and the eviction process will continue.
Tenants may request a new trial within three days of the date the ruling was issued in favor of the landlord, but it will not stop the eviction process.
5-10 days. The hearing must be held at least five days, but no more than 10 days, after the date the summons is issued by the court.
Step 4: Writ of Execution is Issued
The writ of execution is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit and gives them the opportunity to remove their belongings before law enforcement officials return to forcibly remove them.
If the court has ruled in the landlord’s favor, the court will issue a writ of execution. This can be done at the hearing or at a later date.
A few hours to a few days. The landlord must request the writ of execution, but it may be issued the same day as the hearing, depending on what time of day the hearing was held.
Step 5: Possession of Property is Returned
The tenant will have 48 hours to move out once the writ has been posted on the rental unit or delivered to the tenant in person.
If the tenant remains in the rental unit once the deadline has passed, law enforcement officials will return to forcibly remove them from the premises. The tenant is now considered to be a trespasser and may be punished by a fine up to $500 and/or the tenant may be taken to county jail for not more than 30 days.
48 hours. The tenant will have 48 hours to move out once the writ has been delivered.
Oklahoma Eviction Process Timeline
Below is a summary of the aspects outside of the landlord’s control that dictate the amount of time it takes to evict a tenant in Oklahoma. These estimates can vary greatly, and some time periods may not include weekends or legal holidays.
- Initial Notice Period – Between 5 and 30 days, depending on the notice type and reason for eviction.
- Issuance/Service of Summons and Complaint – 3-5 days prior to the eviction hearing.
- Court Hearing and Ruling on the Eviction – 5-10 days after the summons is issued by the court.
- Issuance of Writ of Execution – A few hours to a few days.
- Return of Possession – 48 hours after the writ is posted/delivered.
Abandoned Personal Property. If a tenant has been lawfully evicted from the rental unit and leaves behind personal property, the landlord shall provide the tenant with written notice via certified mail to the tenant’s last known address. The landlord must store the tenant’s personal property and if the property is left unclaimed for 30 days or more, it is considered as abandoned and the landlord may dispose of the property.
Tenant’s Defenses for Eviction. A tenant may have a defense for an eviction lawsuit. Below are some common defenses:
- Forceful removal by the landlord.
- The landlord turns off essential services or utilities.
- The landlord did not maintain the property to comply with housing, safety and health codes.
- The landlord discriminates against the tenant based on race, religion, familial status, gender, national origin or disability.
Flowchart of Oklahoma Eviction Process
- 1 41 OK Stat §41-131 (2019)
- 2 41 OK Stat §41-132 (2019)
- 3 41 OK Stat §41-111 (2019)
- 4 41 OK Stat §41-132 (2019)
- 5 41 OK Stat §41-201 (2019)
- 6 12 OK Stat §12-1148.5A (2019)
- 7 12 OK Stat §12-1148.5A (2019)
- 8 12 OK Stat §12-1148.4 (2019)
- 9 12 OK Stat §12-1148.10 (2019)
- 10 12 OK Stat §12-1148.10A (2019)