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Landlord Obligations for Bug Treatment in Oklahoma


According to the terms outlined in the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission (OREC) Residential Lease, landlords have specific responsibilities when it comes to treating pest infestations, including bedbugs, after a tenant has moved in.





Landlord Responsibilities:


1. Initial Treatment Obligation:

The lease explicitly states that the landlord (Owner) is responsible for eradicating any pest infestation reported by the tenant within the first thirty (30) days of possession. This means that if a tenant reports a bedbug infestation within this timeframe, it is the landlord’s duty to ensure the property is treated and made pest-free at their expense.


2. Continued Responsibility for Termites:

While the tenant is responsible for most pest control after the initial 30 days, the lease specifies that termite control remains the landlord’s responsibility. Therefore, if termites are discovered at any point during the tenancy, the landlord must address and treat the infestation.


3. Future Infestations:

After the initial 30-day period, the responsibility for most pest control, including bedbugs, shifts to the tenant. However, the tenant must take reasonable and prompt action to eradicate any infestations. If the tenant fails to do so, the landlord has the right to step in and take necessary actions, subsequently demanding reimbursement from the tenant for the incurred costs.


4. Reporting Requirements:

The tenant is required to report any suspected or known infestations promptly. This includes bedbugs, which need to be addressed immediately to prevent the infestation from worsening and spreading.


Specific Lease Clauses:


Clause on Pest Control:

The lease clearly mentions, “Owner shall be responsible for eradicating any pest infestation reported by Tenant within the first thirty (30) days of possession… Any future infestation of any kind, except termites, shall be the responsibility of Tenant” (OREC Residential Lease, Section 10A).


Tenant’s Failure to Act:

If the tenant does not take reasonable steps to handle an infestation after the initial period, the landlord can intervene and charge the tenant for the costs (OREC Residential Lease, Section 10A).


Example Scenarios:


1. Initial Infestation Report:

A tenant moves in and reports a bedbug infestation within two weeks. The landlord must hire a professional pest control service to treat the infestation at no cost to the tenant. Failure to do so can lead to legal consequences under the Oklahoma Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.


2. Later Infestation:

If a tenant reports a bedbug problem three months after moving in, the tenant is responsible for the treatment. If the tenant neglects to address the issue, the landlord can arrange for treatment and bill the tenant.


Legal Context:


The Oklahoma Residential Landlord and Tenant Act supports these provisions by requiring landlords to maintain rental properties in a habitable condition and address any health or safety issues, which include pest infestations. Non-compliance by the landlord can lead to legal actions from the tenant, including the possibility of rent withholding or lease termination.


Conclusion:


Landlords in Oklahoma must address and pay for any pest infestations, including bedbugs, reported within the first thirty days of a tenant’s occupancy. Beyond this period, the responsibility generally shifts to the tenant, except for termite infestations. Both parties are encouraged to communicate promptly and take swift action to ensure a pest-free living environment.


For more detailed information, refer to the OREC Residential Lease and the Oklahoma Residential Landlord-Tenant Act.

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