This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information.
This page was last updated on Sep 16th, 2023. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.
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You may be able to break your lease if you can come to an agreement with your landlord.
Your lease is still valid despite the emergency period.
However, you can talk to your landlord to see if they will agree to let you leave early. If they agree, be sure to get the agreement in writing.
Also, you can review your lease. It may have a part that lets you end the lease early in times of financial difficulty. If your lease has this kind of part, you might be able to break the lease (in some cases penalty-free).
Find legal help to get advice for your situation.
Local governments set the rules about who is eligible for rent relief. Most programs focus on people who have suffered COVID-19 hardships. You can talk to your local Rental Assistance program to learn their eligibility rules. You may have to show your household income, or if you are on other benefits programs like SNAP. You may also have to show that you are at risk of homelessness or eviction if you don't get rental assistance. Check with your local Rental Assistance program to see if you are eligible.
Many local Rental Assistance programs are open to everyone, regardless of immigration status. Many programs do not even ask about immigration status.
Check with your local Rental Assistance program to make sure about eligibility rules and immigration. ****
Most Rental Assistance programs let landlords apply.
Either a renter or a landlord can start the application.
The landlord will have to fill in as much information they have about the amount of money needed, and the eligibility for the program. The tenant may have to fill in the rest of the information.
If you are behind on rent, you can get help from your local Rental Assistance program. This is a government service to help people who owe rent or utility bills.
Especially if you are behind on rent because of COVID-19 hardships, your local Rental Assistance (or Rent Relief) program can help you.
Find your local Rental Assistance program at your Get Help page here.
Contact a legal help organization to help defend yourself. It is illegal for your landlord to evict you without first going to court and getting an eviction order. To remove you from your home, a landlord must take you to court by filing an eviction lawsuit, win the case, and getting an eviction order from the court.
Legal aid groups might be able to provide you with full representation, or other legal organizations can give you information or brief advice.
Find legal help to protect your rights.
Tell your landlord about any repairs needed, particularly if they affect your health and safety.
The emergency may delay your landlord's ability to make repairs, but if they are urgent you should call your landlord to make the repairs as soon as possible.
Emergency repairs could be for problems with:
Reach out for legal help for additional guidance. You may also be able to file a court case to get your landlord to make the repairs.
Eviction cases are still moving through Oklahoma courts. Check with your local court to get up-to-date information.
Since emergency protections have expired, Oklahoma renters' utilities may be shut off if they don't make timely payments.
Earlier, some Oklahoma utility companies are stopping all shutoffs during the emergency. Some local cities ordered that no resident’s water can be shutoff.
Renters must still pay their utility bills. If you need financial assistance for utility costs, you may be able to get help.
Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you.
Oklahoma landlords can sue tenants for eviction since the statewide and national protections ended.
If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord, or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.
In Tulsa County, legal aid provides attorneys for housing court at no cost to all qualified tenants. Call 2-1-1 or go to this website for a referral for a free housing court attorney in Tulsa County.
Yes, Oklahoma renters still need to pay rent during the emergency.
\You may have been protected from eviction based on nonpayment of rent through August 26, 2021 if you follow the CDC's National Eviction Moratorium's rules. But after then, the protections expired -- and you still owe all your rent.
If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:
Communicate with your landlord: Send a written letter or email to your landlord as soon as possible. Explain why you cannot pay the rent because of COVID-19 impact. You can also try to negotiate with your landlord to make a payment plan or get a temporary rent reduction.
Get written records of all communication: Keep copies of any letter or email you send, and any responses from the landlord. Keep receipts for any payments you make. If you make a payment plan or rent agreement, make sure to get it in writing.
Keep proof of COVID-19's impact on you: Collect documents about your COVID-19-related employment problems, health care issues, or other issues that affect your ability to pay rent. This includes letters from your employer, doctor, insurance provider, child care provider, schools, etc.
Check for help: If you need financial assistance for housing costs, you may be able to get help.
Oklahoma's statewide emergency protections for renters have expired as of August 2021.
Some Oklahoma renters had been protected through August 26, 2021 the national CDC moratorium.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court also required landlords to certify CARES Act compliance, if they are suing a renter for eviction. They must proactively show that the eviction is not prohibited by the US national emergency protections.
Check with the Oklahoma State Courts for updates.
Find legal groups that can help you with housing problems, landlords, roommates, Section 8, domestic violence, discrimination, and more.Find Legal Services
Find groups that can help you pay the rent, cover utility costs, and get other housing-related assistance.Find Financial Help
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