This post will discuss how to evict a roommate under Oklahoma law. The law on evictions is similar in many states; however, consult an attorney in your state for the most up-to-date information on eviction laws in your state.
Do you own the property?
If you do not own the property, you may not evict someone. However, if you are not the property owner, ask the owner to commence an eviction. It is wise to consult the advice of a civil litigation attorney before contacting the owner.
Is your roommate threatening you?
If your roommate threatens you, you may file a petition for an emergency protective order, and a judge can order your roommate to leave the property immediately. You may file for a protective order even if you don’t own the property. In 2022, the Oklahoma state legislature passed a new law allowing a roommate to file a protective order.
How to evict
1. Give notice of the eviction
First, you must give your roommate notice of the eviction. In general, you must provide at least thirty days advance notice. However, the law contains the following exceptions to the thirty-day notice:
- If the lease terms say that rent is due in intervals of less than thirty days, you must give notice within several days that is not less than the interval between the days rent is due.
- If the tenant doesn’t pay rent for three months or longer, you must give at least ten days’ notice to evict.
- If the tenant doesn’t pay rent for less than three months, you must give at least five days’ notice to evict.
- You don’t have to give any notice at all if:
- The time the tenancy ends is specified in the contract.
- A tenant commits waste.
- The relationship between landlord and tenant does not exist.
- The tenant is a “tenant by sufferance.” A tenant by sufferance is a tenant who rightfully comes into the possession of the property and, after the tenancy expires, continues to hold the property without your consent.
2. How to give notice
It would help if you served written notice personally upon the tenant. However, if you can’t find the tenant, you must deliver the written notice to a person over twelve who resides on the premises. If you can’t do this either, you must post the notice in a conspicuous place on the premises and mail the notice to the tenant, by registered mail, to the tenant’s last known address.
3. If the tenant doesn’t leave after you give notice
If the tenant doesn’t leave after you give notice (or if you’re in a situation where no notice is required), you may go to court. First, go to the court clerk’s office in the county where the property is situated, and tell the clerk you want to file a forcible entry and detainer action. The clerk should give you a form to fill out. Please fill out this form, and give it back to the court clerk, and the clerk will set a date for you to appear before the judge.
It would help if you gave the tenant notice of the hearing date. The rules for giving a tenant notice of a hearing date are slightly different from those for providing a tenant notice of eviction: You must serve the notice personally on the tenant or on someone who is at least fifteen years old and who resides on the premises.
You may do it by certified mail if you can’t deliver the notice personally. If you serve to notice personally or by certified mail, you must give the notice at least three days before the hearing.
If you can’t help notice personally or by certified mail, you may do by posting a notice in a conspicuous place on the premises at least five days before the hearing. If you ask the court clerk, the clerk will have the county sheriff serve notice on the tenant.
4. At the hearing
Your hearing will typically be heard in small claims court. You will have the right to present evidence as to why the tenant should be evicted, and the tenant will have the right to present evidence as to why he should not be evicted.
In addition, you will have the right to have a lawyer represent you, and the tenant also has the right to a lawyer. Finally, you, or the tenant, will have the right to a jury trial. The judge will hear the case if neither party demands a jury trial.
At the hearing, the judge will decide whether the tenant should be evicted. If the judge decides to evict the tenant, the judge will sign a writ of execution that commands a sheriff to remove the tenant from the property forcibly.
If the judge rules against you, you will have the right to appeal the case. If the judge rules in your favor, the tenant will have the right to appeal.
Typically, the tenant will have to leave the property while the appeal is pending; however, the tenant may remain on the property if he posts a bond within two days of the day of judgment. (The judge may extend this time period for posting a bond to seven days.) If the tenant posts a bond, the tenant will be allowed to remain on the property while the appeal is pending as long as he pays rent to the court clerk.
If you’re concerned about your right to evict a roommate
If you’re worried about your right to evict a roommate, speak to an attorney in your state.
However, there may be an easier way to deal with a problem roommate rather than eviction. Eviction should be used only as a last resort. Often, by talking with your roommate and working out an agreement, you will be able to resolve the issue peaceably. Fixing a problem peaceably is usually better than going to court.
The Bible says, “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful.” (1 Cor. 10:23).