LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Given the number of military personnel in our area who rent housing when they're here, the Housing Services Office on Fort Sill hosted a seminar on Tuesday for service members and others in the community on some of the specific laws involving landlords and tenants.
Two attorneys talked about the Fair Housing Act, the do's and don'ts of lease agreements, and how those with disabilities can protect themselves.
Attorney Teressa Webster addressed a common complaint from tenants--that landlords won't make repairs...so the tenants sometimes threaten to withhold the rent payment until it's fixed.
"Communicating with the landlord in writing they may assume that the landlord knows what's going on with the unit the landlord may not know so putting it in writing is basically what triggers that persons right to enforce their remedies under the law," said Webster.
Attorneys also addressed the Services members Civil Relief Act which is designed to ease the financial burden of legal help on military personnel and their families brought on by the demand of active duty.
Chief for the Housing Services Office Phyllis Young said education is key.
"A lot of service members here in the Lawton community do not know what is enforceable on the lease agreements, they don't understand and we wanted to make sure to have folks that do live in the Lawton community to include our landlords to know what the law says," said Young
A common problem their office works with is deposits charged for having a pet.
"The landlord cannot charge a deposit fee, they cannot charge a fee of sort, they can at the end if the animal does destroy the property," said Young.
There are certain rules when it comes to getting a service animal in your home or apartment that landlords have to follow.
"Service animals are very tricky they do not have to have a doctors statement to have a service animal they can even have statement that knows their condition and why the need a service animal," said Young.
Other topics discussed included eviction notices,and how to terminate a residential lease.If you missed Tuesday's seminar you can find any state and federal housing rules and laws on the Oklahoma Residential Real Estate Commission website.