The Oklahoma eviction process is a strict process that is largely governed by eviction notices. Eviction notices play a crucial role in property management in Oklahoma.

These notices outline tenant violations, often offering the tenant an opportunity to rectify the issues or face eviction. The success of the eviction rests on multiple factors, including something seemingly as simple as delivering the proper form within a stipulated time frame.

But before you can even start the eviction process, you have to understand eviction law, which outlines the reasons you can file for eviction in Oklahoma in the first place.

Grounds for Eviction

Failure To Pay Rent:

The most common reason for eviction arises when tenants miss their rent deadlines. In Oklahoma:

  • Rent becomes overdue a day past its due date.
  • You must give a 5-day written Notice to Pay before filing for eviction. 
  • If tenants clear their dues within this period, the eviction process stops under Oklahoma eviction law.

One of the ways that a tenant may clear up their past due balance is to file for rental assistance.

Lease Violations:

Both landlords and tenants must adhere to the lease agreement. A breach of the agreement may lead to an eviction lawsuit or termination of the lease. Here are a few things to remember about lease violations:

  1. The property owner (or property manager) must issue a 15-day Notice to Comply for a lease violation.
  2. The tenant gets 10 days to correct the issue and an additional 5 days to leave if not rectified.
  3. Common violations include damage to the unit, health hazards, unauthorized occupants, and keeping pets in pet-free zones.

Illegal Activity:

Landlords can directly proceed with evictions without notice if tenants engage in unlawful, criminal activity such as:

  • Falsifying rental application documents.
  • Endangering others through criminal activities.
  • Drug-related offenses.
  • Violent felony convictions.


Landlords can only evict for valid reasons. One of those reasons may be that the lease has expired and the tenant has not signed a renewal agreement. If the tenant was required to move out at the end of the lease, and if they have not done so, the landlord may be able to serve the tenants with an eviction notice and proceed with initiating legal filings. 

Depending on the tenancy type, landlords may give either a 7-day Notice to Quit or a 30-day Notice to start the eviction proceedings.

Filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer Action

To evict a tenant legally, landlords must file a lawsuit known as a Forcible Entry and Detainer action.

Notice to Comply:

Before heading to court, landlords must provide tenants with a notice to comply within a given time frame as dictated by Oklahoma's statute titled "TITLE 41. LANDLORD AND TENANT.". Various online resources offer templates and guided wizards to aid this process (fees might apply).

Oklahoma Eviction Filing Steps:

  • Visit the local small claims court.
  • Accurately complete the necessary forms.
  • Cover the required filing fees.

Oklahoma Eviction Timeline: 

The eviction filing can only occur after the notice period's expiration. Once the court has received all of the filing paperwork, they will set a court date and serve the tenant with any relevant court documents and summons.

Serving the Tenant

The Summons and Complaint, which detail the eviction trial's specifics, must be delivered to the tenant but not by the landlord.

How Documents Are Served:

  • Court Delivery Service: This is direct delivery to the tenant, typically done through a court-licensed service.
  • If the primary occupant is not at home at the time, then they may serve the documents to a responsible resident (at least 15 years old).
  • If nobody is available to serve, then the court may serve the tenant via a mailing service via certified mail.
  • If no address is available, or the letter is never certified as having been received, then they may resort to posting the notice to the premises. This is typically only done if all other options have been exhausted.

Post Serving:

After the court eviction hearing documents have been served to the tenant, tenants can choose to respond, although not mandated. The documents are generally served 3-5 days pre-eviction hearing.

Presenting Evidence in Court

After the eviction filing has been completed and the tenant has been served, it's time to go to court. Here are a few key things to remember about eviction hearings: 

The Importance of Being Present at the Hearing

It's imperative for both landlords and tenants to be present at the eviction hearing. This is both party's official opportunity to present their side of the story, provide evidence, and potentially influence the court's decision. Their presence also ensures they're fully aware of the proceedings and the potential consequences.

Prior to attending the hearing, it's generally recommended that all parties involved in the hearing seek legal assistance and become familiar with eviction laws in Oklahoma.

The Risks of Absence and Default Judgments

If one party fails to show up, the other may be granted a default judgment. This means that the court might decide in favor of the attending party due to the absence of the opposing side. For example:

  • If a landlord is absent, the court could dismiss the case, allowing the tenant to continue living in the property.
  • If a tenant is absent, the court might rule in favor of the landlord, possibly leading to the tenant's eviction without any further defense.

Opening Statements: 

Both parties can give a brief overview of their positions. Landlords will be required to state the reason for their eviction filing, and tenants will have the opportunity to state why they are opposed to it.

Presentation of Evidence:

This is when both sides show their evidence. This may include photographs, signed agreements, a copy of the deed, payment receipts, correspondence, witness statements, and any other relevant documents or information associated with the eviction.

Post Judgement Consequences and Options

After the hearing is completed and the judge has issued a verdict in the eviction case, you might be surprised to learn that that's not the end of the story. Or, at least, when it comes to landlord-tenant law, it doesn't have to be the end of the story for either party.

Immediate Post-Judgment Consequences:

Once the judge has ruled, both parties will be officially informed of the decision. If the judgment favors the landlord, the court typically provides the tenant with a specific timeframe to vacate the property. If the tenant wins, they can continue to reside in the property under the terms of their lease agreement.

Options for Tenants:

If the ruling is not in the tenant's favor, tenants who are aware of their tenant rights may be able to:

  • Appeal the Decision to the District Court: 

Tenants may have the right to appeal the court's ruling if they believe there was a legal error or oversight. The process of filing an appeal with the district court can be complicated and might require the services of an attorney.

  • Negotiate with the Landlord: 

Though highly unlikely, some landlords might be open to negotiation even after winning the case. For instance, they might allow the tenant additional time to move out in exchange for certain conditions.

  • Request a Stay of Eviction: 

In certain circumstances, a tenant can ask the court for a temporary delay, especially if they can prove that immediate eviction would cause extreme hardship.

  • Comply with the Judgment: 

If none of the above options are viable, the tenant should make arrangements to vacate the property within the stipulated time to avoid forcible eviction by law enforcement.

Options for Landlords:

If the ruling is unfavorable for the landlord, they may be able to:

  • Appeal the Decision: 

Similar to tenants, landlords can appeal the court's decision if they believe a mistake was made during the initial hearing.

  • Re-Evaluate the Case: 

Consider the reasons for the unsuccessful eviction and determine if another eviction attempt might succeed with better evidence or under different grounds.

  • Negotiate with the Tenant: 

Landlords can negotiate new terms or conditions with the tenant to rectify the issues that led to the initial eviction attempt.

  • Seek Legal Counsel: 

If the landlord is unsure of the next steps, consulting with an attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law can provide clarity.

Gaining Possession

To gain possession of the rental property, there are a couple of steps that must be taken before doing so following a court eviction judgment against the tenant.

Enforcing Judgment:

Landlords who have won the eviction can file to acquire a Writ of Execution, mandating tenants to leave within 48 hours. This will be served to the tenant by the court by law enforcement.

Move-Out Process:

Upon receipt of the Writ, tenants must vacate within 48 hours. Only law enforcement can enforce this order.

Forcible Removal:

If the landlord wins and the tenant does not vacate the premises within the designated timeframe, file an appeal, or take any other preventative measures, then upon filing for a Writ of Execution, the following will happen:

  1. Enforcement of The Writ: 
    This is court-ordered enforcement that authorizes law enforcement to remove the tenant and their belongings from the property physically.
  2. Securing the Property: 
    Once the tenant has been removed, the landlord will change the locks and secure the property to prevent unauthorized re-entry. If the tenant re-enters the property after enforcement of the Writ, it will likely be treated as a criminal matter, not a civil one.
  3. Claiming Unpaid Rent or Damages:
    The landlord might have the option to pursue a monetary judgment against the tenant for unpaid rent, damages, or legal fees. This can involve garnishing the tenant's wages or levying their bank account.

Concluding Comments

Evictions, regardless of the outcome, can be challenging for both landlords and tenants. It's important for both parties to understand their rights and options both pre and post-judgment. While the legal process can be daunting, the silver lining (if there is one in such situations) is that the rules exist to ensure fairness and justice in a precarious and delicate balance. And when one door closes (or is legally closed for you), hopefully, another opens to a better future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I force a tenant to move out in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, landlords can't just knock on a tenant's door and demand they pack their bags immediately. There's a legal process to follow. A landlord can indeed ask a tenant to move out, but only under specific circumstances, such as failure to pay rent, violation of lease terms, or involvement in illegal activities on the premises. However, the eviction must be done legally, which involves giving proper notice and, if necessary, seeking a court order.

Q: Which eviction methods are illegal in Oklahoma?

Thinking of playing some loud music at 3 AM to get your tenants to leave? Think again! Oklahoma has strict rules against what's known as "self-help" evictions. These are actions taken by landlords to forcibly remove a tenant without going through the legal process. Illegal eviction methods in Oklahoma include:

  • Changing the locks without notice
  • Shutting off utilities like water, electricity, or gas
  • Removing a tenant's belongings from the property
  • Harassing or threatening the tenant to force them out

In essence, if it feels like a scene from a bad movie, it's probably illegal.

Q: What are the penalties for illegally conducted self-help evictions in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma doesn't take kindly to landlords who try to take the law into their own hands. If a landlord is found guilty of conducting a self-help eviction, they can be liable for:

  • Actual damages the tenant has suffered
  • Statutory damages, which can be hefty, sometimes up to $100 per day for each day of violation
  • Attorney's fees and court costs

So before a landlord thinks of "DIY-ing" an eviction, they should remember that the penalties can be quite expensive!

Q: How long does an eviction take in Oklahoma? 

In a perfect world where everything happens on time and there are no delays or issues that can arise in any legal filing, here are the rough estimates for how long each eviction type might take:

  1. Unpaid Rent: The general ballpark range for eviction due to unpaid rent in Oklahoma is approximately 12-27 days.
  2. Lease violations: The general ballpark range for eviction due to lease violations in Oklahoma is approximately 22-42 days.
  3. Non-renewal of lease: The general ballpark range for eviction due to non-renewal of the lease in Oklahoma is approximately 24-47 days, depending on the notice period required.

Keep in mind that, in reality, the time frame for every eviction process to play out will likely be towards the higher end of the estimated time frame, if not well past.