What Terms Should Be Included In a Residential Lease in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma law is very specific when it comes to what terms are enforceable in a written residential lease agreement. Specifically, the Oklahoma Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (ORLTA) (41 OS 101-201) has provisions that common lease terms are sure to violate. 

Note: ORLTA only applies to traditional residential lease agreements, whether written or verbal/oral. Any purchase, lease-to-own, rent-to-own, contract-for-deed, hotel, commercial, or agricultural transaction will not be held to these rules.

If any terms used in the landlord-tenant agreement violate the guidelines in ORTLA, the court will not be able to enforce those terms (41 OS 103(B)). However, smart landlords know that they can still use unenforceable terms in an attempt to get the tenant to voluntarily comply with these terms. Tenants can always voluntarily comply with terms they think will be enforceable because they don’t know any better, or the dispute never ends up in court.

Overview of unenforceable Oklahoma residential lease terms (see section 113)

  • Any term that waives the tenant’s protections under Oklahoma law 
  • Any term that forces the tenant to accept judgment (such as being liable for damages or other issue)
  • Any term that shifts attorney fees to another party 
  • Any term that allows the any party to limit their liability for damages or injuries to persons or property caused by the acts (or inaction) of another party
  • Any term that allows a lien to be placed on the property 
  • Any term that waives the right to call law enforcement or other emergency assistance to the property 

What about tenant damage and security deposits?

In Oklahoma, damage/security deposits must be held by the landlord in an escrow account within the State of Oklahoma with a federally insured (FDIC) institution. Landlords may apply security deposit funds to unpaid rent, damages, or other allowable charges under the rental agreement once the tenant has vacated. Tenants are entitled to request a refund of the unused security deposit in writing, and should do so within six (6) months after the end of the lease, or sooner as required by the lease agreement. 

Other helpful info:

The attorneys at Avenue Legal Group have the knowledge and experience you need when it comes to residential leasing issues and custom lease drafting throughout Oklahoma. Contact us for specific advice or to purchase residential lease templates, addendums, notices, or other tenant-facing legal documentation.



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