Early Termination of Lease Agreement: Oklahoma Rental Laws For Breaking Lease

Early Termination of Lease Agreement: Oklahoma Rental Laws For Breaking Lease

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Many tenants sign a lease agreement for their apartment for a full-time period. However, they leave before the lease term is up due to some reasons. Let’s begin with an example: Suppose you’re a student living in Oklahoma, signed a lease for a rental home, and staying till the college session ends. Suddenly, you need to move to other places for your new job or other reasons. This is when you need early termination of lease agreement even though you have good intentions.

There are many reasons tenants end tenancy agreements early. In some cases, property owners break the lease and vice versa. In some cases, property owners break the lease and vice versa. Whatever the reason is, the whole procedure is directed by the state Landlord-Tenant laws.

The early termination of a rental lease agreement before the term expires without paying the rent or shattering the state law is known as breaking the lease. Here’s a review of tenant rights in Oklahoma to break a lease without further obligation to pay rent. Get to know the fine print of the property management agreement.

Early Termination of Lease Agreement By Tenant: Reasons For Breaking Lease Early

Every landlord has their own terms and conditions to make the proper decision. Both tenants and landlords have the lease agreements as a safety net. However, that doesn’t mean that landlords cannot show kindness and find a mutual solution. Things can be a workout if both parties get along.

Here are 5 reasons tenants can terminate lease early:

cancellation of lease agreement

Loss of Job

A tenant often sends an early termination of lease letter due to job loss. Due to the widespread loss of jobs and health risks of the Covid-19 pandemic, many renters have faced difficulty making their rent payments. There is no federal protection for tenants who lost their jobs.

We recommend working with the tenant on breaking a lease in Oklahoma so that they can find more affordable housing. This is included in renters’ rights in Oklahoma.

Condition 1: If loss of work is a short-term issue then both parties can come up with a creative payment plan. Plans like signing a new lease to extend their stay. This will also protect landlords from vacancy losses.

Recommendation: How can you minimize rental property vacancy rate

Condition 2: When tenants lose their jobs permanently and no longer pay rent, then it is best to work with them to resolve and break the lease early. This process is better than going to court or hiring a debt collector. Avoid adding stress for all parties involved.

Homeowners can negotiate a tenant’s lease termination of the rental home in outstanding condition. This permits you to find a tenant quickly.

Illness or Death

Sadly, getting sick can ruin an individual financially and in the case of senior citizens, it’s more difficult. The renter may be going through a tough time; illness or have passed away thereby. This often leaves a burden of the rent payments on the living tenant. With death, the survivor tenant already will be on hard times. While we always recommend sympathy in such a case. And the most appreciated. Figure out something to work out the situation.

Job Transfer

In US military cases, the tenant’s job might transfer them out. In such a case, as written in the early termination of lease clause, you must allow the tenants to break the lease early in some states in Oklahoma. If it is a corporate move, the company pays rent for ⅔ months. They pay for moving companies and know the employee might be in a month-to-month lease. This permits a tenant to break their lease. At the same time, it provides you with a chance to find new tenants.

In fact, landlords can have more benefits from this type of early lease termination. 2 months of paid rent adds more income to your pocket while searching for a new tenant! Seems like a good opportunity. Find more in Tenant Resource Center.

Violation of Tenant’s Right to Privacy

Landlords need to do their best so that the tenant can find a safe home. Your state Landlord-Tenant laws may allow survivors of domestic violence, stalking, assault, or unlawful harassment to terminate the lease early. Every state has a different way of handling such situations.

Examine your specific state laws. They decide if landlords can ask for verification and also if the offender can be financially responsible.

Violation of Oklahoma Health or Safety Codes

If your landlord doesn’t provide a habitable home under the state housing codes, a court would probably come to an end that you have been “constructively evicted”. This means that if the landlord is supplying unlivable housing, and evicting a tenant for all unreasonable purposes has no further responsibility for the rent.

Oklahoma law sets preconditions for the procedures you must follow before moving out because of major safety causes. The health issues can be serious. You can move out once they report everything is safe and sound.

What Happens if I Break a Lease Early Without a Valid Reason?

The outcomes of breaking a lease early without a valid reason that is not legally permitted can lead you to penalties. It can vary from state to state and the lease clause of your rental agreement. Generally, the following issues you had to face by early terminating a lease:

  • Your landlord charges you a termination fee for breaking the lease early.
  • You lose your security deposit from your landlord. He/she keeps it.
  • You are responsible for rent until the landlord finds a new tenant.
  • You may sue your landlord to recover the money.
  • You end the lease, but having due rent, can damage your credit score and cause trouble finding a rental property.

Do Early Lease Termination Impact on Tenant’s Credit Score

Yes, breaking a lease can impact a tenant’s credit score. But it depends upon the circumstances. Tenants must know that terminating a lease doesn’t appear in their credit reports, but it still hurts their credit scores in other ways.

Do Early Lease Termination Impact on Tenant's Credit Score
  • If you pay all outstanding charges before moving, including back rent and fees, breaking a lease won’t hurt your credit score. It can damage your credit if it results in unpaid debt.
  • When you end a lease, your landlord will generally penalize you. Failing to pay these penalties can impact credit scores, as your landlord turns the debt over to a collection agency, and they report your debt to the credit bureaus.
  • If you incur debt from unpaid rent or early termination fees, your landlord or property manager may send it to a collections agency, which may negatively impact your credit.

It’s worth noting that different states and cities can have laws dictating the consequences of early lease termination. However, it’s important to pay all applicable termination fees due and fulfill the terms of your lease agreement to mitigate damages to your credit score when breaking a lease. If you cannot pay the fees, try negotiating with your landlord to devise a payment plan or arrangement for easing both parties.

Early Termination of Lease Agreement By Landlord: Reasons Landlord Can Terminate Lease

reasons landlords causes early lease termination

Can a landlord break a lease early? The answer is Yes. A landlord can lawfully break a lease early if a tenant notably violates any terms and conditions in the lease agreement. There can be various reasons landlords can terminate lease in Oklahoma;

  • If a tenant pays rent late or doesn’t pay rent at all.
  • If a tenant keeps any pet in violation of a no-pets clause in the lease.
  • If a tenant damages the rental unit.
  • If a tenant participates in any criminal activities inside or near the premises, such as selling drugs.

In such cases, owners have the full right to terminate a lease early and provide proper written notice. Oklahoma state law needs at least 30 days notice for early cancellation of a lease agreement. Here is a full guide to Oklahoma Lease Termination Notice.

The termination notice states if the tenancy is over or not, depending on what the renters have done wrong. If the tenant has broken a law that can’t be replaceable, the state law warns the tenant to vacate the rental property. They will get certain days to clear unpaid rent and clean up the stuff. If the tenant pays the rent and fixes the damages, then no one needs to go to court. However, if the tenant doesn’t agree, a property owner can file an eviction in Oklahoma and find a new tenant for rental property.

How to Legally Break a Lease in Oklahoma?

Breaking a lease in Oklahoma can be challenging, but there are legal policies that ease cases for certain reasons. But both landlords and tenants have to carefully consider the legal practices of states on the type of lease agreement. Here, we have discussed the generalized process of legal lease termination.

How to Legally Break a Lease in Oklahoma

Review Your Agreement: Your lease agreement will specify the clauses that permit you to end the lease for certain reasons without a penalty. So, you should review lease agreement carefully. The reasons should be legally protected from penalties. The tenant can break the lease contract for job transfer, military deployment, permanent change of station, or the rental unit is uninhabitable, and the landlord can terminate for unpaid rent or breach of the agreement by the tenant.

Provide Written Notice: In Oklahoma, both landlord and tenant must provide a written notice with valid reasons when breaking a lease. Time also matters in it but differs from the type of lease.

  • For week-to-week leases, at least 7 days notice in advance is suitable.
  • For month-to-month leases, 30 days notice is generally acceptable.
  • For fixed-term leases, you can break the lease without penalty for a valid reason, such as uninhabitable rental property.

These lease agreements are explained in detail in our below content.

Pay Early Termination Fees: If the lease agreement is included with the early termination clause, the tenant must pay the early termination fees to the landlord. It can depend on the specification of the lease agreement too. In the case of landlords, they do not need to pay any early termination fees.

Vacate the Rental. Otherwise, Landlord Can Evict You: Tenants must vacate the rented property, by the end of the notice period. If you don’t move out, the landlord can file for eviction.

How Much Notice Required For Breaking a Lease in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, a written notice must be provided by tenants to their landlords before breaking a lease. The amount of time for notice requirements to end the lease depends on the type of lease agreement, which is discussed below:

How Much Notice Required For Breaking a Lease in Oklahoma

Week-to-Week Leases: In week-to-week leases, at least 7 days written notice of termination is provided to the landlord or tenant in advance. This means parties can end the tenancy with just 7 days’ notice. There’s no need to provide a reason for termination.

Month-to-Month Leases: The landlord or tenant can break the tenancy but has to give written notice to another party. The notice must be at least 30 days maintained.

Fixed-term Leases: There is no need to provide notice in the case of fixed-term leases. But providing notice avoids confusion or misunderstandings about when your tenancy will end. It can be written or verbal. Giving your landlord at least 30 days notice is best.

Lease Termination for Cause: Sometimes, a landlord or tenant can end the lease for a cause. Tenants can break a lease without penalty if the rental is unsafe, violating Oklahoma’s health and safety codes. On the other hand, the landlord ends an agreement if the tenant is always late on paying rent or causes any damage to the property. This problem can also be solved if parties promptly provide written notice about their situation. If not, terminating the lease is the best choice.

Lease Termination for Military Service: You are a tenant in Oklahoma and moving out to start active military duty; you can break your lease without penalty, and written notice of your military service with a copy of your military order should be provided to the landlord.

If you had to break your lease, sending your landlord a termination letter is important. In most states, your 30 days notice is strictly required and needed to vacate the rental property before the 30 days. Reviewing the lease agreement to determine the landlord’s preferred delivery method is important. If notice is not given, it can result in unwanted penalties and consequences.

Early Termination Clause in Lease (+Fees)

There should be a mutual agreement between landlords and tenants when it comes to preparing a legal document. Consider preparing lease agreements in a paper if you are looking for a new tenant. This can protect both the landlord and a new tenant. If a property owner can provide allowances with linked fees, it can protect them as well as give the renters an easy way out. 

It releases the renters from being responsible for the remaining balance of the lease. Moreover, gives you some cash to cover an empty unit while you search for future renters for a few months.

How Much Does It Cost to Break a Lease in Oklahoma?

Often, early lease cancellation clauses contain a termination fee. However, you may simply ask a tenant to pay monthly rent until you find a replacement/ new tenant.

An early termination fee is 2 months worth of rent. Any more in rent payment would be considered unreasonable by courts.

In addition, if you don’t include the early lease termination clause in the agreement, the law obliges the tenant to cover your damages until you find new renters for your rental property. It is crucial to know about Oklahoma rental laws for breaking leases.

What to Include in an Early Lease Termination Clause?

early lease termination clause

Get a lease agreement landlord guide from your lawyer and develop reasonable lease agreement documents. Include these clauses with the proper legal language in your lease when signing on new tenants. Make sure both landlord and tenant fully understand and agree with the rental agreement. Here are a few clauses you need to address;

  • In the early lease termination clause, a tenant should provide at least 30 days’ notice to the landlord and should vacate before the 30 days are over. Some states require 60 days’ notice so that the landlord gets time to find another tenant. The tenant must send an early lease termination letter to the landlord beforehand.
  • The notice must be written and signed by all tenants who are involved.
  • The early termination fee can be estimated usually 1-2 months of rent.
  • The landlord will consider the lease terminated once they get a receipt of the tenant paying the early termination fee.
  • If the renters do not obey the process like vacating before the agreed date or paying the apartment lease termination fee, more will be taken into charge as per the lease clause.

What if there’s a “No Early Termination” Clause in the Lease?

If there’s no early termination clause in the rental agreement, then it can significantly increase the challenges faced by a tenant who wishes to terminate the lease prematurely. In such cases, terminating the lease would be regarded as a breach of contract, exposing the tenant to potential legal action from the landlord and the possibility of being held liable for monetary damages. However, there are some special circumstances that allow them to break the lease and also not be responsible for additional fees. Here are some circumstances:

  • Military Deployment
  • Domestic Violence
  • Inhabitable Property
  • Going to a Retirement Home

In each case, the tenant has to notify the landlord with an early lease termination letter. They might get sued and be liable to pay all remaining rent according to the rental agreement plus the court costs if they didn’t notify the landlord.

Mutual Lease Termination Agreement

If there’s no clause regarding early lease termination then the tenant can negotiate with the landlord. If the tenant is able to provide a valid reason, then they might agree to a mutual lease termination agreement.

With mutual lease termination, the tenant might need to accept some conditions:

  • Pay a few month’s rent
  • Pay the agreed-on fee
  • Forfeit your security deposit

However, if the tenant is able to find a new replacement tenant or sublease then they won’t need to pay anything.

Before signing the mutual termination agreement, you might want an attorney to review it. You can put the required terms you want. Also, it will help you avoid legal issues later.

Breaking a Lease in Oklahoma Conclusion

And that’s a wrap on the tenant landlord laws for breaking a lease in Oklahoma. I know that was a lot of information to digest. But now you’ve got the knowledge to avoid any legal disputes and make the right moves if you or your renters need to break a lease early.

I’m sure other questions will pop up, too, as you deal with lease termination. Going through the early lease termination alone is a complex procedure. That’s why we’re here for! As the top property management in OKC, the OKC Home Realty Services team guides you through the process to make the best decisions for your rentals and take the stress off your shoulders!

So don’t hesitate to reach out anytime you need a hand. Managing rentals in OKC is our specialty – so tap into our expertise. We’re here to set you up for rental success. Fill up the form below or you can call us today for property management services.

FAQs on Early Termination of Lease

Why is an Early Lease Termination required?

Landlords go through lease termination in case the tenant breaks any laws. For tenants, early lease termination of the original agreement is required for various reasons;
1. If a tenant has to transfer a job.
2. If a tenant loses a Job.
3. If a landlord violates health or safety codes.
4. If a landlord violates your privacy rights.
5. If a tenant faces illness or death.

Will a landlord let you break the lease?

In the case of military services, landlord-tenant laws allow you to break a lease. You can also get out of your lease without penalty if you are facing domestic violence or an unsafe environment.

Should the Landlord let Tenants find a Sublet?

You should not let tenants find a sublet for various reasons;
1. If the original tenant is liable for the subtenant, tracking down the original tenant for late rent payments may be difficult.
2. Inconsistent Tenant screening procedures.
3. A subtenant may cause rental damage because they may be unaware of the rules.

How to get out of a lease in Oklahoma?

To get out a lease, first you should give the landlord a proper notice of lease termination with written notice of breaking a lease with reasons. Once the written notice is delivered, your tenancy will terminate 30 days after the rent is next due, even if that date is several months before your lease expires.

Can you break lease if you feel unsafe in Oklahoma?

The tenant can break a lease penalty-free if the landlord is negligent in maintaining the property up to legal standards and providing a fit residence with Oklahoma's health and safety codes.

How much notice does a landlord have to give a tenant to move out in Oklahoma?

If you have a lease, either you or your landlord can end the tenancy with advance 30 days written notice. Without a lease and paying weekly - you're considered a week-to-week tenant. In that case, 7 days written notice from either party terminates the tenancy. The key is providing proper advance notice in writing to end the rental agreement officially.

scott nachatilo


Scott Nachatilo is an investor, property manager and owner of OKC Home Realty Services – one of the best property management companies in Oklahoma City. His mission is to help landlords and real estate investors to manage their property in Oklahoma.