Oklahoma City, OK asked in Real Estate Law and Contracts for Oklahoma

Q: Can a rental property in Oklahoma keep a security deposit if I back out of renting before signing a lease?

I contacted an apartment community about renting a unit they had specials on. The apt was not finished and we looked anyway, decided we liked the layout and would put in an application. We paid a $50 app fee. We decided to move forward with a deposit on the property after the application was approved. We paid 350 security deposit

We checked on the apt a few times to check on progress and ensure that they were doing what they had said they would do before we moved in. The last time we viewed the apt, the closet that held the w/d was complete and I noticed that there was no dryer vent. They stated that it would vent into the apt and had no plans to vent outside. We said we would back out due to safety/ health concerns bc dryer vent into house is illegal. They said it's not illegal for them bc they're grandfathered in. They said they took this unfinished apt off market for 1.5 months and bc of that they won't return deposit.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kyle Persaud
Kyle Persaud

A: You have the right to demand a return of the security deposit.

Okla. Stat. tit. 41 s 115 says:

A. Any damage or security deposit required by a landlord of a tenant must be kept in an escrow account for the tenant, which account shall be maintained in the State of Oklahoma with a federally insured financial institution. Misappropriation of the security deposit shall be unlawful and punishable by a term in a county jail not to exceed six (6) months and by a fine in an amount not to exceed twice the amount misappropriated from the escrow account.

B. Upon termination of the tenancy, any security deposit held by the landlord may be applied to the payment of accrued rent and the amount of damages which the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant's noncompliance with this act and the rental agreement, all as itemized by the landlord in a written statement delivered by mail to be by return receipt requested and to be signed for by any person of statutory service age at such address or in person to the tenant if he can reasonably be found. If the landlord proposes to retain any portion of the security deposit for rent, damages or other legally allowable charges under the provisions of this act or the rental agreement, the landlord shall return the balance of the security deposit without interest to the tenant within forty-five (45) days after the termination of tenancy, delivery of possession and written demand by the tenant. If the tenant does not make such written demand of such deposit within six (6) months after termination of the tenancy, the deposit reverts to the landlord in consideration of the costs and burden of maintaining the escrow account, and the interest of the tenant in that deposit terminates at that time.

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