Oklahoma Supreme Court overrules doctrine of “caveat emptor” with respect to residential leases.

Until June 30th, in the area of landlord tort liability for a tenant’s injuries within the leased premises, Oklahoma followed the common law maxim of “caveat emptor,” which states:  “The right of possession and enjoyment of the leased premises passes to the lessee, in the absence of concealment or fraud by the landlord as to some defect in the premises known to him and unknown to the tenant, the rule of caveat emptor applies and the tenant takes the premises in whatever condition they may be in, thus assuming all risk of personal injury from defects therein.”   In its place, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has now imposed a general duty of care upon landlords to maintain the leased premises, including areas under the tenant’s exclusive control or use, in a reasonably safe condition. This duty requires a landlord to act reasonably when the landlord knew or reasonably should have known of the defective condition and had a reasonable opportunity to make repairs.

The full text of the Miller v Grace decision is available here.

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