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Oklahoma Security Deposit Regulations

Similar to many states, Oklahoma adheres to a comprehensive landlord-tenant law that encompasses regulations regarding security deposits. These laws delineate the rights and responsibilities of landlords concerning their tenants' security deposits, aiming to protect both parties from potential financial issues arising from negligence, such as unpaid rent or utility bills.

For landlords in Oklahoma, it is crucial to be well-versed in these regulations to prevent potential conflicts. Here is an essential overview of the security deposit laws in Oklahoma.

Is there a Limit on Security Deposit Amounts in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma does not impose a specific limit on the amount landlords can charge for security deposits. Landlords have the freedom to set the deposit amount, provided it is clearly stipulated in the lease agreement. While there is no statutory limit, experienced landlords typically aim for a reasonable range, generally between one and two months' rent.

Charging less than a month's rent might expose landlords to potential financial risks, while charging more than two months' rent could make the property less attractive to prospective tenants.

Can Landlords Charge Additional Pet Deposits in Oklahoma?

Yes, landlords in Oklahoma can charge an additional pet deposit. Typically ranging between $200 and $500, these extra fees are permissible. However, landlords cannot require tenants with service animals to pay a pet deposit. This practice would be considered discriminatory under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), with potential penalties ranging from $16,000 to $65,000.

Protected classes under the FHA include disability, race, color, nationality, religion, gender, familial status, and age.

Deductions Allowed on a Tenant's Security Deposit in Oklahoma

Landlords in Oklahoma are entitled to make certain deductions from a tenant's security deposit. These deductions may include unpaid rent, costs associated with damages beyond "normal wear and tear," and other charges outlined in the rental agreement, such as early termination fees.

Distinguishing Between Damage and "Normal Wear and Tear"

Understanding the distinction between damage and normal wear and tear is crucial to avoid conflicts. Damage results from tenant negligence, misuse, or abuse, affecting the property's functionality and value. Normal wear and tear refer to the property's expected deterioration over time, such as faded wall paint or minor scuffs.

Timeline for Returning Security Deposits in Oklahoma

Landlords in Oklahoma must return a tenant's security deposit within 45 days of their departure. If deductions are made, an itemized list of deductions, along with the remaining amount, must be sent to the tenant within this period. Tenants have six months to claim their security deposit; otherwise, it becomes the landlord's property.

Consequences for Failing to Return a Security Deposit

Failure or refusal to return a tenant's security deposit may lead to legal action. Tenants can sue landlords for wrongfully withholding the deposit, potentially resulting in the landlord paying the entire deposit amount, damages, and legal fees.

Security Deposit Receipt Requirement in Oklahoma

While not mandated, providing tenants with a security deposit receipt is advisable. This receipt should include details such as the deposit amount, date of receipt, and information on how the deposit is stored.

Storage of Tenant's Security Deposits in Oklahoma

Oklahoma specifies that landlords must store tenants' security deposits in an escrow account in a federally insured financial institution located within the state. Unlawful use of the deposit may lead to a jail term of up to six months and fines twice the amount misused.

Property Ownership Changes and Security Deposits

When property ownership changes hands, landlords have two options: returning the deposit to the tenant or transferring it to the incoming landlord. Written notification to the tenant is mandatory in such cases.


Navigating the intricacies of security deposit laws in Oklahoma requires careful attention to detail. OKCREAL offers comprehensive property management services, handling rent collection, property maintenance, tenant screening, and ensuring compliance with all aspects of landlord-tenant law. However, for precise legal advice, it is recommended to consult with a qualified attorney. Contact OKCREAL for further assistance in achieving stress-free property management in Oklahoma City, OK.


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