Oklahoma Limits Foreign Property Ownership, Requires Affidavit of Compliance for Deeds

Published by JD Supra | November 20, 2023

Oklahoma’s statutes and Constitution have long prohibited the ownership of land and minerals by alien persons or entities, subject to certain exceptions.

On November 1, 2023, a statutory amendment went into effect in Oklahoma which requires an affidavit be completed and attached as an exhibit to all deeds filed for record in any county in the state certifying compliance with the law that limits the ability of alien persons or entities to acquire title to Oklahoma property or supply funding to others acquiring property in the state. The statute applies to all deeds presented for recording on or after November 1, 2023.

Oklahoma’s statutes and Constitution have long prohibited the ownership of land and minerals by alien persons or entities, subject to certain exceptions (such as alien persons or entities who are deemed “bona fide residents” of the state). Senate Bill 212 – which was passed during the 2023 legislative session and went into effect on November 1 – proposed certain amendments to the existing law codified at 60 O.S. § 121. Two important changes should be noted.

First, new statutory language in subsection A prohibits both direct and indirect acquisition of title to Oklahoma property by aliens or non-citizens through a business entity or trust, except as otherwise permitted therein. Previously, indirect ownership through domestic or domesticated entities was not explicitly prohibited. Now, non-exempt businesses and trusts must certify that all their direct or indirect owners, trustees, and direct and contingent beneficiaries, as applicable, are either U.S. citizens or bona fide residents of Oklahoma. A new exemption from the application of subsection A is established for business entities that are “engaged in regulated interstate commerce in accordance with federal law.”

Second, a new subsection B was added which now requires that each and every deed recorded in any county of the state include as an exhibit thereto an affidavit, executed by the grantee(s), attesting that they are obtaining title in compliance with this new law and that no funding source is being used to violate this or any other state or federal law. The Oklahoma Attorney General has published form affidavits to comply with this statute, which are available here.

Additional guidance about this new law may be forthcoming as the Oklahoma Attorney General and others work to effectuate the amended legislation. In the meantime, individuals, companies, and other entities selling or acquiring title to property in Oklahoma (and those who represent them) should be aware of the additional prohibition of indirect alien ownership via businesses and trusts and the requirement that all deeds must now include this statutory affidavit.

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