Oklahoma has a new law that allows domestic violence victims to terminate their lease early without penalty. Senate Bill 200 states that a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence or stalking may terminate a lease without penalty by providing a written notice and a protective order of an incident of such violence within 30 days of when it occurred, unless the landlord waives the 30-day period.
The perpetrator of the domestic violence would remain liable for any damages suffered by the landlord by the early termination of the lease. This could be problematic for landlords as the “without penalty” language in the new law arguably applies to the domestic violence victim’s damage and security deposit which would have to be returned upon a valid termination of the lease.
The bill also states that a landlord can’t deny, refuse to renew, or terminate a tenancy because the applicant, tenant or member of the household is a victim or alleged victim of domestic violence, sexual violence or stalking regardless of whether there is a current protective order.
A landlord can’t deny a tenancy or retaliate against a tenant because the applicant or tenant has previously terminated a rental agreement, because the applicant or tenant is a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking.
“Victims of domestic violence often feel trapped because they have no way to escape their home, especially if they can’t afford to terminate their lease before it is up. This new law that goes into effect on November 1, 2021, allows victims to end their lease early without penalty so they can move on and make a fresh start for themselves without their abuser knowing where they live.” Brian Huddleston.