OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A new legislative study is in the works to understand the effects of current laws for homeowners and renters to see if more protections are needed.
State Rep. Mickey Dollens of Oklahoma City is the author of the study.
He said that Oklahoma has an excess of corporate homebuyers and rental landlords.
“I want to look at the correlation between weak tenet protection laws and the fact that Oklahoma is number three in the country for homes owned by corporations,” said Dollens.
The Oklahoma City representative said that corporations are buying up homes, raising rent and only selling the homes to other corporations.
Oklahoma renters have few ways to protect themselves, especially when owners are not in the state to be held accountable for repairs.
The state’s tenant protection law now covers renters up to $100 for costs out of their own pocket when there is damage to their apartment if the landlord does not fix it within 14 days.
An update to the law will go into effect in November that will increase that reimbursement up to a full month of rent.
KFOR receives emails from viewers on a weekly basis about poor apartment living conditions.
We spoke to Hunter Somerville Thursday about an issue he had with water damage.
“Water was pouring out of the electrical fixture in the hall, out of the exhaust fan in the bathroom, and it continued for almost an hour and a half to two hours before they could figure out what was going on,” said Somerville.
He said he moved to Oklahoma City in March and pays $1,300 for rent.
The leak came from an upstairs neighbor. Their pipes were broken and leaked water throughout his apartment.
“In all my years, I have never had an experience like this,” said Somerville.
His apartment has a hole in the ceiling where water settled, sagged and eventually forced the ceiling to fall apart.
Somerville said it looks like mold has built up in parts of his apartment.
KFOR reached out to The Gables apartment complex, but they referred us to the corporate company. We found that Transwest Properties is the managing company. They did not respond for a comment.
Dollens said Oklahoma is one of six states without landlord anti-retaliation laws, making it potentially dangerous for renters like Somerville to speak out.
His goal is to put renters on an equal playing field with landlords, especially as prices are on the rise.
“I’m seeing a lot of that happen with the scrupulous rent hikes and the way in which they justify 15 to 20 percent raises without making basic improvements,” said Dollens.