Santa Monica Adopts New Smoking Law For All Multi-Unit Housing In City

Thursday, 25 Oct 2012, 1:18:00 AM

Brenton Garen

Starting Nov. 22, 2012, all newly occupied units in multi-unit residential properties in Santa Monica are declared non-smoking.
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Starting Nov. 22, 2012, all newly occupied units in multi-unit residential properties in Santa Monica are declared non-smoking.

Santa Monica on Tuesday adopted a law with new smoking rules that affect all multi-unit housing in the City. The law includes the following:

-- All new occupancies after Nov. 22, 2012 are non-smoking: Starting on this date, all newly occupied units in multi-unit residential properties in Santa Monica are declared non-smoking. This includes all apartments and condominiums. So, anyone moving into an apartment or condo in Santa Monica after November 22 can't smoke in the unit.

-- Owners must start smoking survey by January 21, 2013: Before this date, all landlords and condo homeowners' associations are required to begin a survey of current occupants, who must then designate their units either "smoking" or "non-smoking." For other deadlines and details about this process, see the attached “designation process” sheet or go to smconsumer.org.

-- Current occupants grandfathered: Existing occupants can continue to smoke inside their units if they designate the units as "smoking."

-- Results distributed: Once the survey is done, landlords and HOAs must give out the updated list of all units' smoking status to all occupants. In the future it must be kept updated, and given to all prospective renters and buyers along with a copy of the attached information sheet. (Also available at smconsumer.org)

-- Common areas too: Existing Santa Monica law already bans smoking in residential outdoor and indoor common areas, including balconies and patios and any area within 25 feet of any door, window or vent.

Questions and Answers

Q: Are there exceptions to the law?

If a property is already 100% smoke-free, the designation process is not required. The law also does not apply to temporary special needs housing for people with disabling conditions.

Q: How is the law enforced?

Most compliance is achieved through communication. If that fails, and a person persists in smoking inside a non-smoking unit after getting a written notice, the person may be taken to small claims court and is liable to pay damages starting at $100. Any person can enforce the law.

Q: Are property owners required to enforce the law?

No. They are only required to conduct the survey and keep updated lists available. They are not required to enforce violations of the no-smoking rules.

Q: What happens if a property owner refuses to conduct the initial survey and give out the required information?

The owner can be prosecuted for violating the Municipal Code.

Q: Can a tenant be evicted for violating this law?

No. But a tenant can still be evicted if the lease prohibits smoking.

Q: What about medical marijuana?

If a unit is non-smoking, then medical marijuana can't be smoked inside. If a doctor specifically requests that a disabled occupant may smoke marijuana indoors, and the occupant can't take marijuana in non-smoked form, then the smoking might be permissible under the "reasonable accommodation" standard for disabilities. For more information call the City Attorney's Office, 310.458.8336.

Q: Where can I get help with quitting?

Go to nobutts.org, or call 1-800-NO-BUTTS.

Q: Where can I get more information?

Go to smconsumer.org, or call the City Attorney's Office, 310-458-8336.

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