Our firm represents Landlords in these kinds of
disputes. Generally speaking the law provides you with remedies
that are intended to preserve your property and allow you to collect
monies that are owed for past due rent or of damages. Where the
landlord will tend to get into trouble is when they take
extra-judicial actions that are not permitted by law. There are several kinds of disputes that arise
between landlords and tenants. While this is primarily a contract
dispute, often times, these matters are further complicated because one
party or the other will attempt to obtain a remedy that is simply not
allowed by the
Landlord Tenant Act.
Are You the Landlord?
The first part of any dispute is the terms of your
contact and the requirements of statute. You have the right to
control your property within the bounds of the law and your contract
with the renter. You have the responsibility to provide a dwelling
that is "habitable" and conforming with the terms of your lease.
You must perform routine maintenance. You are entitled to receive
rent and an expectation that your property will be well maintained by
the tenant. You are required to return the security deposit to the
tenant upon surrender of the property, less any repairs or cleaning that
the tenant was obligated to perform. Should the tenant breach the
agreement or should the lease expire, you may reclaim the property.
If the tenant will not voluntarily vacate the premises, you are entitled
to possession of the property and any back rent that is owed. This
is commonly called an "FED Action" or a "Forcible Entry and Detainer"
action. The biggest problem that most landlords expose themselves
to is when they take the law into their own hands and exceed the steps
that they can take to reclaim the property. Don't fall into that
trap. Call us and let us assist you with the recovery of the
property within the bounds of the law.
It is a popular myth that the tenant can withhold all of the rent if
the rental agreement is breached. Under Oklahoma law that is
simply not true. At the same time there is another myth that the
tenant can have
any necessary repairs completed and deduct the full amount of the
repairs from the rent. Again that is totally untrue. Under
Oklahoma law, the tenant can only withhold a maximum of $100.00 from the
rent - a receipt showing the amount withheld was
spent at the residence must have been provided to the landlord. Further,
the tenant must have served notice to
the landlord and given the landlord a reasonable time to repair the
problem. If there are significant problems with the problem, you
can either reduce the rent by diminished value of the property, or serve
notice and move out. It is important to note that the law
requires that all notices be in writing!
A landlord may not take the tenant's property, lock them out, or
out" by shutting off utilities. One of the ways that mane of these
kinds of disputes starts is when landlords exceed the bounds of the
remedies they are permitted to pursue under law.
If you are a landlord, it is a good idea to have an attorney
available to advise you and assist you with evictions and collections
that are sometimes the unpleasant side of being in this kind of
business. If you are a landlord and you don't presently have legal
counsel, please don't hesitate
to contact our office.