Tenants who move into apartments and condos in Santa Monica after Nov. 22 will find it's illegal to smoke inside their units.
A new law banning tobacco and marijuana smoke in multi-unit housing was adopted with a second vote by the Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday night and takes effect Nov. 23.
See also: Revised Apartment Smoking Ban Approved
The city has issued details about the new law, including important dates and how it will be enforced:
- All new occupancies after Nov. 22 are non-smoking: Starting Nov. 22, 2012, all newly occupied units in multi-unit residential properties in Santa Monica are declared non-smoking. This includes all apartments and condominiums. Anyone moving into an apartment or condo in Santa Monica after Nov. 22 can't smoke in the unit.
- Owners must start smoking survey by Jan. 21, 2013: Before Jan. 21, 2013, 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, visit smconsumer.org.
- Current occupants grandfathered: Existing occupants may continue to smoke in their units if they designate the units as "smoking."
- Results shared: Once the survey is done, landlords and HOAs must distribute the list of all units' smoking status to every occupant. THe list must be kept current, 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.
Are there exceptions to the law? If a property is already 100 percent smoke-free, the designation process is not required. The law also does not apply to temporary special needs housing for people with disabling conditions.
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.
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.
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.
Can a tenant be evicted for violating this law? No. But a tenant can still be evicted if the lease prohibits smoking.
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 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.
For more information, visit smconsumer.org, or call the City Attorney's office at (310) 458-8336.