Oklahoma Security Deposit Returns and Deductions

Oklahoma Security Deposit Returns and Deductions

Last Updated: January 29, 2024 by Phil Ahn

Quick Facts Answer
Acceptable Deductions Unpaid rent, utilities, and late fees

Costs of damage

Charges outlined in the lease

Return Deadline 45 days
Itemized Deductions Required
Penalty for Late Return Amount due + court costs + attorneys’ fees

For laws on security deposit collections and holdings in Oklahoma, click here.

Security Deposit Deductions in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, the following can be deducted from security deposits:

  • Unpaid rent, utilities, and late fees
  • Costs of damage excluding normal wear and tear
  • Other charges as outlined in the lease

Most states, such as Oklahoma, do not have a legal limit on how much a landlord can charge for damages except that the charges must be reasonable.

If the cost of the damages exceeds the amount of the security deposit, landlords are entitled to seek additional damages from the former tenant.

What is Considered Normal Wear and Tear in Oklahoma?

“Normal wear and tear” is deterioration that occurs naturally as a result of the tenant using the property as it was designed to be used.

Examples include:

  • Gently worn carpets
  • Lightly scratched glass
  • Faded paint and flooring
  • Lightly dirtied grout
  • Loose door handles
  • Stained bath fixtures

“Damage” means destruction to the rental unit that occurs because of abuse or negligence by a tenant during the course of the tenancy.

Examples include:

  • Heavily stained, burned, or torn carpets
  • Broken tiles or windows
  • Holes in the wall
  • Missing fixtures

Can the Landlord Charge for Replacing the Carpet in Oklahoma?

Landlords can charge for replacing the carpet if it is damaged beyond normal wear and tear.


A carpet that is slightly discolored or gently worn will be considered normal wear and tear. A carpet with visible stains, major discoloration and rips will be considered excessively damaged.

Can the Landlord Charge for Nail Holes in Oklahoma?

Landlords in Oklahoma can charge a tenant for nail holes if they damage the walls in a way that is not a result of ordinary enjoyment of the rental unit.

Tenants have the right to use the walls within their unit in a reasonable way. This includes inserting small nails or thumbtacks to hang posters or pictures.

However, large holes from drilling, multiple nail holes, large nail holes, and holes made for hanging heavier things may be considered damage and thus, chargeable to the tenant.

Can the Landlord Charge a Cleaning Fee in Oklahoma?

Landlords in Oklahoma can charge a cleaning fee if it is specifically stated in the lease agreement or if the tenant causes damage that requires cleaning such as wine stains on the carpet.

Can the Landlord Charge for Painting in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, landlords can charge for painting, except for normal wear and tear. For example, if the tenant:

  • Causes damage beyond normal wear and tear
  • Repaints the wall but is not permitted to do so under the lease agreement
  • Repaints the wall in an unprofessional way

Normal wear includes:

  • Minor scrapes from daily use
  • Fading due to sunlight
  • Minor cracks in the original paint

Landlords can charge for repainting if the damage is not the result of normal use. This includes stains, large or deep scratches, and water damage.

Security Deposit Returns in Oklahoma

Landlords must return a security deposit by mail or hand-delivery no later than 45 days after conditions have been met. If deductions are made, an itemized list of deductionsmust be included.

How Long Do Landlords Have to Return Security Deposits in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma landlords have 45 days to return any unused portion of the security deposit. The period begins once all three of these events have occurred:

  • The lease terminates
  • Tenant delivers possession of the property to the landlord
  • Tenant makes a written request for the deposit

If the tenant does not make a written request within 6 months after the termination of the tenancy, the landlord can keep the deposit free from any claim by the tenant.

Do Landlords Owe Interest on Security Deposits in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma law does not require landlords to provide interest on held security deposits.

How Do Landlords Give Notice in Oklahoma?

If deductions are to be made from the security deposit, an itemized statement of deductions must be sent by mail (return receipt requested)to the tenant’s forwarding addressor hand-delivery wherever the tenant can reasonably be found.

If the notice is sent by mail, the return receipt must be signed by someone at the dwelling who is at least 15 years old.

Can a Security Deposit Be Used for Last Month’s Rent in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma law does not forbid the security deposit from being used for any outstanding rent. However, tenants still have a responsibility to pay the last month’s rent.

Landlords can include a provision in the lease agreement that the security deposit cannot be used for the last month’s rent until the tenant vacates the rental unit.

Security Deposit Disputes in Oklahoma

If landlords do not return the security deposit or provide a written statement of deductions, if any, within the required time period, tenants can file for damages in court up to the amount of the deposit due to the tenant plus court costs  and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Tenants can also take legal action against a landlord for:

  • Failure to hold the security deposit in an escrow account
  • Unreasonable deductions

How Can Tenants File a Dispute for a Security Deposit in Oklahoma?

If a landlord fails to perform their obligations regarding a security deposit, the tenant can file a dispute in the small claims division of District Court if the amount of damages is less than $10,000. If the amount is greater, the tenant must file a civil case in the District Court.

A small claims case regarding the return of a security deposit must be filed within 1 to 3 years depending on the type of case.

Cases are filed in the District Court where the rental property is located or where the defendant lives. An attorney is not required but permitted. Filing fees vary by court.