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Meet the north Tulsa landlord who refused to evict any of his 145 tenants amid the pandemic

Posted at 8:42 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 15:02:33-04

TULSA, Okla. — With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's moratorium currently ending on March 31, evictions are expected to rise in Tulsa moving into April.

One north Tulsa landlord has refused to evict any of his 145 tenants during the pandemic and chose to work with all of them.

Stuart McDaniel was born and raised in Tulsa and has been in the real estate business for four years. He owns 230 properties, of which 86, commercial and residential are currently rented.

When the pandemic hit, McDaniel said everybody was affected. He worked with his tenants, waiving late fees for those who were keeping up with their agreed payment plan. He even allowed his tenants to use his office computers to apply for government funding.

McDaniel’s properties are located in north Tulsa, where he lives with his wife and son. He has taken up boarded-up, abandoned houses and properties, some run by slumlords, and completely renovated the inside and outside. His goal is to transform and uplift the community.

His work has been described by members of this community as, “not gentrification, but ensuring that the soul of the neighborhood is still kept alive". His company creates all the designs for all his properties. Many of his properties are utilities included, some with WiFi and considered very affordable for the market.

Before and after photos of one of McDaniel's North Tulsa properties.

“You have to create a home that the family who becomes your tenant loves living in, with affordable rental fees. This work is not just about collecting the rent,” said McDaniel.

Before and after exterior photos of one of Stuart McDaniel's properties.

McDaniel says that he currently meets with all his potential tenants in person.

“You can’t judge someone based on just what’s on paper. It’s important to meet them to get a sense of who they really are,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel even assisted Nyesha Hall in opening up a successful daycare during the heart of the pandemic.

Hall had desired to open a daycare for years. When McDaniel presented the opportunity to turn one of his properties into a childcare center, she said it was a dream come true.

McDaniel listened to Hall’s vision and renovated the interior, even putting in two handicapped bathrooms.

“Stuart made my dreams a reality. We call him the ‘Daycare Dad’. We opened in October of 2020 and we are now at a full capacity, serving up to 45 children,” said Hall.

Hall named the daycare ‘Tony’s Angels Learning Academy’ after her father, who passed away from a blood clot. Hall and McDaniel eventually hope to expand the daycare, so she can open its doors to even more families in the community.

“[At] ‘Tony’s Angels Learning Academy’ we believe the children are the future,” Hall said. “And none of this would have been possible without Stuart.”

McDaniel works with many of his commercial tenants on “stair-stepping” the rent. The rate starts at a low rate and then slowly increases to a higher affordable amount in line with the revenue.

"Their success breeds my success, so anything I can do to help their bottom line, just strengthens their ability to be good tenants," McDaniel said.

Hall even hired an executive director who ended up being another tenant of McDaniel. For any parents looking for housing, she always recommends McDaniel as a landlord who she believes is the best landlord in Tulsa.

McDaniel states that his ultimate, future goal in the real estate market is that, “north Tulsa [becomes] merely a direction."

He hopes that other landlords will reconsider eviction.

“Be mindful that everyone has to give a little during this crazy time. Take a second look at tenants that are behind and ask yourself if your actions now can contribute to their sustainable success in the near future or not,” McDaniel said.

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