2 Works For You investigates tenant's rights in rental properties

Posted at 6:32 PM, May 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-25 19:45:35-04

TULSA -- Difficult landlords across Green Country can leave some residents homeless.

2 Works For You has received emails from our viewers describing troubles they are having getting necessary repairs made. Mitch Jamison is one of them.

He said the ceiling in his Tulsa apartment has been leaking since he moved in two years ago. During heavy rainstorms, he collects gallons of water in buckets in his living room.

Jamison said he has never furnished his living room, because anything he put in the room would be ruined by the water.

"I've been asking for the last two years what they are going to do and when they are going to do it," Jamison said. "Every time I would ask they would say when it quit raining."

Jamison is to his breaking point. He said his apartment does not feel like home and it will not be his home for much longer. In May, he was given an eviction notice. He believes it is because he keeps bringing up the maintenance issues.

Attorney Charles Gibbs said bringing needed repairs to a landlord's attention is a tenant's right.

"The tenant has the right to bring those issues to the landlord's attention and to have it repaired so that they have a fit and habitable place to live." Gibbs said.

He said is it all outlined in the Landlord-tenant Act, which he said is pretty easy to understand.

According to Gibbs, a tenant must present a written notice of the problem and specify how long the landlord has to fix it. He advises sending the notice certified mail or hand delivering it to ensure the landlord receives it.

The law says landlords have 14 days to make the repair if it is not an emergency. Gibbs said an emergency situation would include a broken air conditioner on a hot day, a broken pipe or bed bugs.

If the problem is not taken care of in the specified period of time, the tenant has options.

"If the problem costs less than $100 to fix, the tenant can have it fixed and deduct it from their rent," Gibbs said.

Gibbs said withholding rent and remaining in the rental property is not the answer. He did say the renter can terminate the lease.

"If the situation is not working out and the landlord is not fixing it, then the tenant can terminate the lease and move elsewhere."

2 Works For You reached out to Jamison's landlord. He said Jamison is being forced to move out so he can repair his apartment. The landlord did say he is willing to move his tenant to another apartment in the meantime.


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