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With small mountain ranges, prairie, mesas, and eastern forests, most of Oklahoma lies in the Great Plains and the U.S. Interior Highlands, a region especially prone to severe weather. In addition to having a prevalence of English, German, Scottish, Scotch-Irish, and Native American ancestry, more than 25 Native American languages are spoken in Oklahoma, second only to California.
How to Screen a Tenant in Oklahoma
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Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, Oklahoma has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current Oklahoma Housing Codes on this Oklahoma State Legislature website. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:
Three-persons unrelated law debated in Norman. Landlords asked for a loosening of the law to allow more than three unrelated people to reside in single-family neighborhoods under certain conditions. Supporters of the rule responded by asking for tighter enforcement and stiffer penalties to protect neighborhoods from becoming "boarding house districts." The Norman Transcript
Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures
Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
Owner/Agent Identity - this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
Security Deposit - this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
Non-refundable Fees - explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
Flooding: In Oklahoma, if the premises to be rented has been flooded within the past five years and this is known to the landlord, the landlord must include such information prominently and in writing in any written rental agreement. (Okla. Stat. Ann. 113a)
Owner Or Agent Identity: As a part of any rental agreement in Oklahoma, the lessor must prominently and in writing identify what person at what address is entitled to accept service or notice. Landlord must disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and address of the person authorized to manage the premises, and an owner of the premises or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and receiving notices and demands. (Okla. Stat. Ann. 116)
Criminal, OFAC/Patriot Act & Sex Offender Records - A nationwide search is always performed. These jurisdictions specifically are available in Oklahoma: OK Department Of Corrections, OK District Courts, OK Sex Offender Absentee Shawnee Indian Tribe, OK Sex Offender Comanche Indian Tribe, OK Sex Offender Chickasaw Indian Tribe, OK Sex Offender Kickapoo Indian Tribe, OK Sex Offender Registry, OK Violent Crime Offender Registry.
Eviction Records - records are available from the following counties: Adair, Alfalfa, Atoka, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Bryan, Caddo, Canadian, Carter, Cherokee, Choctaw, Cimmaron, Cleveland, Coal, Comanche, Cotton, Craig, Creek, Custer, Delaware, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Haskell, Hughes, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnston, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Latimer, Le Flore, Lincoln, Logan, Love, Major, Marshall, Mayes, Mc Clain, Mc Curtain, Mc Intosh, Murray, Muskogee, Noble, Nowata, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Payne, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Pushmataha, Roger Mills, Rogers, Seminole, Sequoyah, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Tulsa, Wagoner, Washington, Washita, Woods, Woodward.
Bankruptcies, Liens & Judgments - records are available from the following counties: Adair, Alfalfa, Atoka, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Bryan, Caddo, Canadian, Carter, Cherokee, Choctaw, Cimarron, Cleveland, Coal, Comanche, Cotton, Craig, Creek, Custer, Delaware, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Haskell, Hughes, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnston, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Latimer, Le Flore, Lincoln, Logan, Love, Major, Marshall, Mayes, McClain, McCurtain, McIntosh, Murray, Muskogee, Noble, Nowata, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Payne, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Pushmataha, Roger Mills, Rogers, Seminole, Sequoyah, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Tulsa, Wagoner, Washington, Washita, Woods, Woodward.
Social Security Number validation, Death Index, credit checks, previous addresses, alias names, and the Rent Check Advisor include all information available regardless of location.