Tenant Law in Oklahoma
Relationships between landlords and tenants in Enid, Oklahoma can get contentious. It's difficult to be a tenant or a landlord. If one or both parties are not aware of their legal rights and responsibilities, conflicts can arise.
Both parties to a landlord/tenant relationship are governed by an extensive body of laws and regulations, defining their legal rights and obligations.
Landlord's Rights in Enid, OK
Most obviously, landlords have a right to collect rent from their tenants. When a tenant agrees to pay a landlord a particular amount of money for the right to occupy the landlord's property, a contract is formed. Tenants have to hold up their end of the deal.
Additionally, landlords can bill the tenant for any damage they cause to the unit, whether it was intentional or negligent. The costs of repairs for such damage can be deducted from a tenant's security deposit, but it should be noted that tenants aren't accountable for normal wear and tear, over which they have little control.
Tenant's Rights in Enid, OK
At the most basic level, tenants have a basic right to what they're paying for: a habitable living environment. Thus, landlords in Enid, Oklahoma must ensure that the units they rent to tenants meet some basic standards for human habitation. These requirements vary from state to state, but are often fairly easy to meet. There are no legal standards that rented units be pretty, particularly spacious, or luxurious. They simply have to be fit for human beings to live in them. To be considered "habitable," rented units must have water, electricity, some form of heating (if the local climate necessitates it), and adequate protection from the elements (proper insulation, no roof leaks, windows that close, etc.).
Additionally, tenants have rights to common areas that are free of physical obstructions, as well as serious health and safety hazards. Common areas are the places in apartment buildings and other residential complexes which every tenant can access, and include hallways, stairwells, and fire escapes. In Enid, Oklahoma, these areas must be kept in a safe condition, at the landlord's expense.
A tenant also has a right, under federal law and the laws of Oklahoma to be free from discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, or gender. Landlords can further not discriminate against persons with disabilities, and must make reasonable accommodations for those disabilities.
And finally, most state laws prevent landlords from arbitrarily evicting tenants. If the lease agreement is for a set period of time, the landlord typically can't evict the tenant until the lease expires, without a good reason. Valid causes for eviction include unpaid rent, illegal activities on the property, damage to the building caused by the tenant, and excessive noise.
Can a Enid, Oklahoma Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Tenants and landlords always want to avoid getting into any serious disputes - these disputes interfere with the tenant's living arrangement, and the landlord's business. In short, they help nobody. While a good Enid, Oklahoma attorney can certainly help his or her client prevail in such a dispute, they may be more valuable for their ability to help prevent such disputes from escalating in the first place.