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Your Right to a Safe and Healthy Rental Home

Landlords must provide a safe and healthy home to their renters. Renters must do some things to keep their home safe and healthy.

Oregon law says your landlord must keep your rental unit and all common areas safe and in good repair when you move in and while you live there. (See Oregon law ORS 90.320.)

That means the landlord must have your rental unit clean and in good working order when you move in. 

The landlord must also provide:

  1. Protection from water and weather (full insulation is not required);
  2. Plumbing and sewer systems that work properly;
  3. Safe drinking water;
  4. Safe hot and cold running water from all faucets and appliances;
  5. Heating that works adequately;
  6. Electric lighting and wiring that works safely;
  7. Appliances, if provided by the landlord, in good working order;
  8. Elevators or other equipment in good working order, if provided by the landlord;
  9. Keys and locks for outer doors that work properly;
  10. Window latches for all of your windows that open;
  11. Garbage containers and garbage pick-up service unless the landlord and renter have a different written agreement or your town does not require it;
  12. Walls, floors, ceilings, stairs and railings in good working order;
  13. Common areas that are safe for typical use;
  14. Smoke detectors that work when you move in (but renters are responsible for changing batteries); and
  15. Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors, if your unit is connected to a source of CO, such as through a vent or door (but renters are responsible for changing batteries). 

Your landlord must maintain the rental units and common areas free of: 

  1. Fire hazards, and
  2. Litter, rodents, or pests.

A landlord must pay for pest control in the common areas (for example, a laundry room, a lobby, or a storage area). You must pay for pest control in your home unless you can prove that you were not responsible for the pests, or that they were there when you moved in.

You must:

  1. Use your rental home and appliances as intended for that space;
  2. Keep your unit clean and tidy, including inside your home, your yard, porch, or your private outdoor area;
  3. Keep your areas free of:
    1. Garbage or clutter, and 
    2. Anything that could attract pests, such as rats, mice, roaches.
  4. Keep your kitchen clean, put food in containers, and take trash out regularly;
  5. Not bring in anything infested with pests. Used furniture or clothing could have bedbugs. If you cause a pest problem, you may have to pay for an exterminator;
  6. Keep sinks, toilets, showers, and bathtubs as clean as possible;
  7. Clean up after any pets or service/assistance animals;
  8. Not make noise that disturbs neighbors or other renters;
  9. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every six months. Change batteries when needed. Do not remove or tamper with any detector or alarm;
  10. Not damage, destroy, or remove any part of the rental, on purpose or carelessly. 
    1. If you, your children or guests break or damage something in your unit, tell the landlord right away. Explain how it happened. The landlord must fix it. But you may have to pay for all or some part of the cost to fix it. If that happens, ask to see the bills or receipts before you pay. 
    2. Exception for victims of abuse. If you can prove you were a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault, you do not have to pay for damage the abuser caused. Proof includes:
      • Restraining order or protective order signed by a judge,
      • The abuser’s court record showing a domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or assault conviction,
      • Police report about the domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault, or
      • A signed statement from a qualified person that says you were a victim of abuse in the last 90 days. You can ask a police officer, lawyer, licensed health care professional, or victim’s service provider advocate for the statement. 

Read more about housing rights for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking here.

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