A security deposit is a money held in a trust account associated with rental agreements to offset damages to the landlord by the tenant. In this article, we will cover the appropriate use of the security deposit, how it should be held, and how it should be distributed when the tenant moves out. Security deposits are addressed in the Oklahoma Landlord-Tenant Act. The requirements of that act are presented herein.
As a practical matter, security deposit amounts in the OKC metro area are approximately one month of rent. The OKC Home Realty approach is to make the security deposit slightly different than one month of rent. So the Tenant is less inclined to view it as the last month of the rent. In fact, our lease provides that the security deposit is an offset against damage to the property and can also be used to offset unpaid rent by the tenant.
In order for the security deposit to be used for this purpose, we also have the following:
- Proof of the initial condition of the unit. We have the Tenant complete a move-in list, nothing any. Things that were damaged upon their move-in. We keep that as a record for when they move out. We also take photos of the unit prior to move-in to support that evidence.
- A walk-through inspection of the unit once the tenant moves out. We also must provide a reasonable estimate of the repair cost that will be charged.
Oklahoma Home Realty collects the security deposit at the time in which the future/ prospective tenant places their application for the property. We have them enter into the security deposit agreement, which states that when we decline the application, we will return their security deposit. But if we approve their application and the tenant later changes their mind about the unit, They will forfeit the security deposit. The security deposit then becomes liquidated damages and is credited to the property owner.
Security Deposit Limits
Oklahoma doesn’t limit how much a landlord can charge as a security deposit from the tenant. However, it does limit when it must be returned i.e 30 days after the tenant moves, and sets other restrictions on deposit.
In-state of Oklahoma, the landlords must deposit the tenant’s security deposit in a misdemeanor Trust account. This account must be in financial institutions that are insured by the FDIC. The account can bear interest.
The landlord must not try to use the tenant’s security deposit for his or her personal use. Using the tenant’s security deposit for personal use by the landlord with the possible result in up to six months in prison and a fine of up to two times the amount misused
|Security Deposit||No limitation|
|Security Deposit Return||Within 45 Days after moving|
Security Deposit Return
The tenant must do the following to obtain their security deposit back in full:
- Pay all money due under the lease, including rent late fees, and unpaid maintenance bills.
- Leave the property in the same condition in which they receive it except for normal wear and tear.
- Stay in the property for the full length of the lease. The exception would be a member of the military with orders to go on deployment.
- Provide a 30 day written notice that they are moving.
If these conditions are not met, The tenant will not receive all of their deposit back.
We want to give the tenant back as much as possible. That’s why we give them a written move-out checklist and guide to explain exactly what they will need to do to get their deposit back.
Once we do the walk-through and access the damages, we provide a written report to the tenant explaining how their security deposit is being distributed. And, we provide them cheque with their portion of the security deposit. We deposit the remaining portion to the owner’s bank account.
Oklahoma Eviction and Termination Notice
State laws define when and how a lease can be terminated by a landlord. For instance, a landlord may give an unconditional termination notice to an Oklahoma tenant who has been involved in criminal or drug-related activity. The landlord can file for eviction if the tenant doesn’t move out immediately. For details, see Oklahoma Eviction Process.
Why charge a security deposit?
It offsets the possible damages a tenant could cause to a property Oklahoma.
What is the Oklahoma Law that controls how security deposit can be used to held?
The Oklahoma Landlord Tenant Act.
Is it legal for a property owner to spend a security deposit if they are low on funds?
No. The money is supposed to be kept in a trust account because it is the tenant’s property until the deposit has been distributed. It is a crime(misdemeanor) punished by a fine and possible jail time.