Landlord-Tenant Law Update: 2021 Repair and Deduct Statute
The Oklahoma legislature passed an update to the old tenant repair-and-deduct statute during the 2021 session and the law took effect November 1, 2021.
Prior to November 1, 2021, tenants could provide written notice to their landlord of a physical condition issue within their rented unit that required attention, and, if the landlord failed to respond, tenants could arrange for the repairs themselves. Under the old law, tenants could deduct up to $100 from their next month’s rent payment. However, not many home or apartment repairs are under $100 anymore. Therefore, the update was necessary and welcome.
After November 1, 2021, tenants can provide the same written notice to their landlord, wait for a lack of landlord response, then make arrangements for the repairs – up to this point, the process is the same. Under the new law, tenants can now deduct up to one month’s rent payment (no matter what that rent payment amount may be), effectively withholding the next month’s payment from their landlord.
What types of repairs qualify for the repair and deduct rule? The repair must be directly related to tenant health or safety. If there’s any question about whether the repair meets the standard, there will likely be financial/damages liability against the tenant for making an unapproved improvement to the property which was not strictly necessary.
What can tenants do if a landlord should be responsible for making a repair to the rental unit? Despite the new law, it is still recommended that tenants provide a written maintenance action request to their landlord instead of relying on the statutes. Tenants should view this updated law as a last resort, rather than the first option.
Are you a landlord that has had a tenant improperly deduct or withhold rent? Our firm works with landlords and property managers across the State of Oklahoma to handle tenant-facing matters.
Are you a tenant who needs to send a written maintenance action demand to your landlord or property manager? Our firm can inform you of your rights and help you initiate the process of getting the landlord to take necessary action towards the health and safety of your unit.
Contact Avenue Legal Group by phone (405-938-3107), text message (405-938-3107) or on our secure contact form.
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