What is a Forcible Entry and Detainer?

A Forcible Entry and Detainer (“FED”) is an action that a landlord, or new property owner can take if the existing occupant refuses to leave after appropriate notice. This occupant could be either a tenant or original owner of property that was sold at a foreclosure or trustee’s sale. The laws governing forcible entry and detainer actions are different if the property is residential or non-residential. The purpose of this post is to assist in the understanding of a residential FED.

The tenant/occupant receives a written demand to vacate the property within a certain number of days.  This period is normally 5 days, and the 5 day notice is often attached to the FED papers. After the notice period expires and the tenant/occupant still refuses to leave, then a Small Claims Court Affidavit for a forcible detainer action can be filed. The Oklahoma Residential Landlord and Tenant Act provides for a short notice period before a court hearing.

If there is no personal service obtained on the defendant, the sole issue at the court hearing is whether or not the tenant/occupant has the right to possession. If not then he will be found guilty of a forcible entry and detainer. The court will enter an order directing the tenant/occupant to vacate, sometimes immediately, more often within a few days. After that period has expired the Sheriff’s office can then evict the tenants/occupants, remove their personal property and give the rightful owner possession and control of the property.  If personal service was made on the defendant, a money judgment for past due rent and other damages may be obtained.

It would be wise for the successful owner to change the locks and take steps to protect the property after gaining possession.

Attached to this article are the forms for filing and executing an FED action in Tulsa County, Oklahoma.  If you need to file a residential or non-residential (i.e., commercial) FED in Tulsa or one of the surrounding counties, Huddleston Law Offices offers fixed fee services for FED actions.

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