A law from the late 1970’s gets an update after Governor Kevin Stitt approved changes this week.
Since 1978, renters have been able to deduct up to $100 worth of repairs from their rent payment. This is only when landlords won’t take action on an issue of health or safety,
Now tenants will be able to withhold a bit more — up to the amount of their monthly rent.
House author Tulsa Representative Carol Bush said several groups came together to find a way to update the decades old Landlord-Tenant Act.
She said landlords came to the table seeking relief from issues caused by COVID-cash flow problems.
“They were still having to make their mortgage payment, they were still having to pay the utilities, and they were not getting any relief,” Rep. Bush said.
She says this makes a way for renters to make timely repairs to ensure they’re safe.
“Mold, or leaky faucets, or dry wall coming off, no-air-conditioning in this heat, things like that,” Bush said.
A Tulsa apartment complex was closed last year for health risks to tenants – prompting lawmakers to take a closer look.
Oklahoma City Representative Forrest Bennett worked on the interim study.
“Oftentimes, we’re talking about folks who are living paycheck to paycheck, and every dollar has a job, and every time you have an unexpected repair, it's not like it is for a lot of folks in Oklahoma, this can really upend your life, and your families’ life,” Rep. Bennett said.
The Oklahoma Association of Realtors put their stamp of approval on the bill.
“We see this as a win-win to strengthen relationships between landlords and property owners, as well as their tenants, the renters,” said Oklahoma Association of Realtors Senior Director of Membership and Communications Will Gattenby.
Lawmakers are also working on another update to make changes to the bill's anti-retaliation clause.
Representative Bush tells News 9 that's ahead for the next session.