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Monday, May 22, 2006

"Eder Bill Becomes Law" by Ed King on May 17, 2006

A new law sponsored by West End Representative John Eder requiring landlords to present prospective tenants with a disclosure form revealing a rental unit’s energy efficiency has gone into effect. The law requires landlords to fill out the form, make it available to the rental housing consumer, and post it in a visible place in the apartment for rent. Upon signing the lease, the prospective tenant must sign that they read the form.

The forms are now available to landlords and property managers for download on the Public Utilities Commission website. The forms provide easy to understand information describing in simple terms whether or not a rental unit meets minimum energy efficiency standards, and also apprise the renter of an existing law that allows a prospective tenant to contact the utility to find out how much it cost to heat the unit in the previous twelve months.

Portland has some of the oldest housing stock in the country, and many of its rental buildings are uninsulated. Eder says that every winter he gets calls from tenants who are shocked by the cost of their heating bills. The original legislation would have required all rental units in the state be made to be energy-efficient. The disclosure form approach was the result of a compromise between those representing tenants, the environment and landlords.

Among the groups who worked for the bill’s passage was The League of Young Voters, who were invited by the Legislature’s Utilities and Energy Committee to be among the stakeholders who worked out the final language of the law.

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