Oregon's Law Requiring
Landlords to Disclose their Smoking Policy

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What do I as a Landlord need to know about this law? Read below and/or download the fact sheet.

Questions and Answers:

Q. What does the new law say?
A. The new Oregon law states the following:

…The rental agreement for a dwelling unit regulated under ORS Chapter 90 [Landlord-Tenant Law] must include a disclosure of the smoking policy for the premises on which the dwelling is located.  The disclosure must state whether smoking is prohibited on the premises, allowed on the entire premises or allowed in limited areas on the premises.  If the smoking policy allows smoking in limited areas on the premises, the disclosure must identify the areas on the premises where smoking is allowed. See the full bill.

Q. When will the new law take effect?
A. The new law takes effect January 1, 2010.

Q. What do I need to do to comply with this law?
A. You are required to notify your tenants of your smoking policy as they sign new lease agreements. You can take advantage of the new law going into effect to inform all of your tenants about your smoking policy.

Q.Does this mean that I have to prohibit smoking in my rental units?
A. No, but it is a great reason for you to go ahead and adopt a no-smoking policy.  It will simplify your work, save you money, protect your tenants from secondhand smoke exposure and protect you from future liability.

Q. What forms can I use to notify tenants of my smoking policy?
A. To comply with the new law, you may draft your own forms or order forms from any of the providers listed below:

Sample language for creating your own form
Oregon Rental Housing Association form
Metro Multifamily Housing Association form

Stevens-Ness Law Publishing Company form

Q. What if I don't use a written lease agreement?   
A. Though Oregon landlords are not required to have a written lease agreement, they are still responsible for other written documentation such as the smoke alarm addendum required by Oregon state fire code and lead paint disclosure addendum required by Federal law for homes built before 1978. This new disclosure law requires landlords to notify tenants of their smoking policy. A written and signed disclosure proves that it was done. You would better protect yourself from liability by using written documentation available through a variety of sources mentioned above.

Q. Do I have to post signs announcing smoking policies?
A. No, but signs indicating where smoking is prohibited achieve better compliance.  A variety of signs and posters are available at www.smokefreehousinginfo.com. Download a poster to announce this new law

Q. What do the exemptions include?
A. People who own their manufactured home or floating home often rent the space where their homes sit.  For purposes of this law, they are considered homeowners and not renters.  

Q. How does this law benefit landlords?
A. You may want to adopt no-smoking policies to protect their properties from damage and fires, but you are not sure whether it is legal. This law clarifies that.  Ensuring their tenants are aware of the smoking policy could help landlords avoid liability and conflicts between tenants. Adopting a no-smoking policy will save you money in cleaning and maintenance and help you attract and keep tenants who take good care of your units.

Q. Why is this law good for renters? 
A. This law will give renters the information they need to make a decision about where they will live. Choosing to live in a non-smoking environment will protect them from the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke, a toxic substance containing 43 cancer-causing agents. The US Surgeon General said it best in 2006, "The debate is over. The science is clear. Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard." The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers says, "Currently, the only way to effectively eliminate health risk associated with indoor exposure is to ban smoking activity."

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