OKLAHOMA CITY – The governor recently signed a bill into law that modifies the repair and deduct portion of the Oklahoma Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
House Bill 3409 by Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, will allow a tenant to correct a condition that materially affects health and is remediable by repairs if the cost is equal to or less than one month's rent and if the landlord has not made the repairs. The tenant could deduct the cost from rent owned. Previously, the cost could not exceed $100.
"The current cap has been in place since 1978, and we all know that $100 would barely touch the cost of a necessary repair in today's economy," Bush said. "I'm thankful the governor saw the need behind this legislation and that tenants can now get more immediate relief if landlords are unable to make timely repairs."
Bush said based on inflation, the $100 cap would equal $478 today. Instead of correcting this act each time inflation rises, however, she reached an agreement with landlords and tenants to set the cap at equal to or less than one month's rent.
Bush said the final version of the bill reflects agreed-upon language from the Tulsa nonprofit Housing Solutions, Tulsa Apartment Association, Apartment Association of Central Oklahoma, and Oklahoma Association of Realtors.
Bush examined this issue in an interim study held last fall before the House Judiciary-Civil Committee. The study revealed some startling gaps in the state's landlord-tenant laws. This is the first of the changes recommended for tenants who are struggling and whose landlords have been unresponsive in making timely repairs.
Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, is the principal Senate author of the measure.
“This is an innovative way to help tenants save money on their rent while assisting landlords with repairs they may not have the time or finances to address,” Pugh said. “I’m grateful for the Legislature’s and governor’s overwhelming support of this commonsense bill that will help families and property owners alike.”
HB3409 takes effect Nov. 1.