How do I talk to my landlord?

It is vitally important to have an open dialogue with your landlord if you are having a problem with secondhand smoke. If no one speaks up, landlords assume that there is no problem.

Talking to your landlord

  1. Visit the landlord pages of this website to learn all of the good business reasons for landlords to adopt no-smoking rules. Give your landlord a copy of the Landlord Handout (PDF) and encourage them to adopt a no-smoking policy.
  2. Inform your landlord that you are having a problem with secondhand smoke in writing and keep copies of all correspondence. It would be wise to send things certified mail with a return receipt. We have a "Secondhand Smoke Communication Record" (PDF) that you can print or save to keep track of all communications with your landlord, other tenants and outside agencies.
  3. If you are having a health problem related to the secondhand smoke, ask your doctor to write a letter documenting the problem and send a copy to your landlord. See Sample Physician Letter (PDF).
  4. Ask other tenants if they are having a problem with secondhand smoke. Tell them to voice their concerns to the landlord.
  5. If you have a health condition or disability that is aggravated by secondhand smoke, you may qualify for a "reasonable accommodation" to allow you to use your housing just like everybody else. In this instance, reasonable accommodations might include such things as adopting a no-smoking rule for your building or being moved to a non-smoking building. The only way to avoid the health hazards of secondhand smoke is to live in a completely smokefree building. Please see the section on the Federal Fair Housing Act and talk to the Fair Housing Council of Oregon (FHCO) for more information on reasonable accommodations. FHCO serves Clark County, Washington as well as Oregon.