“It wouldn’t be fair for one of my tenants to have to breathe a neighbor’s smoke. They didn’t sign up for that. And why would I want to allow smoking in a unit in the first place? It could cost me thousands to remove the smoke smell from the walls and replace the carpet. Then, if one of my tenants got asthma or lung cancer, I’d feel responsible. That’s why we all should go smoke-free.”
– Melinda Nicols, Property Owner
Landlords who are permitting smoking of tobacco products and/or marijuana on their premises might want to consider posting a Proposition 65 warning sign. The sign could include the following language since tobacco smoke can cause cancer, birth defects and reproductive harm. Marijuana smoke can cause cancer. Proposition 65 warning signs can be found by searching the Internet.
Please be assured that it is legal for any landlord, nationwide, to require no smoking in an entire apartment building or complex including the units, balconies/patios and common areas. It is also legal for condominium complexes and co-ops to adopt no smoking policies. In California, state law provides legal protection for adoption of no smoking policies in apartments (CA Civil Code 1947.5).
There is no law that prevents managers and owners of apartment buildings and Homeowner’s Associations from regulating the use of tobacco on the premises, both inside individual units and outside in common and private use areas. The reason: there is no Constitutional right to smoke, and people who smoke are not protected by Fair Housing laws. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is encouraging all providers of affordable and market rate housing to adopt 100% smokefree policies.
Governor Signs Senator Padilla’s Smoke-Free Housing Bill
Sacramento –Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) announced today that Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law SB 332. This new law expands the availability of smoke-free housing in California by allowing landlords to prohibit smoking in rental units. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2012.
“With the Governor’s action today, we will see the availability of smoke-free, multi-family housing grow throughout California,” said Senator Padilla. “While more than 86% of Californians do not smoke, there is currently very little smoke-free housing in California. Living in multi-family housing should not compromise the health of renters or their children. This new law will provide tenants with healthier choices,” said Padilla.
Property owners/managers: Curious about what to clean, restore, and replace when converting to a non-smoking unit?
Residents: Wondering what to ask your landlord to clean or replace when moving into a unit that has been smoked in?
According to Kennedy Restoration Co., the following items in a smoke-damaged apartment will need to be cleaned, restored, or replaced. Individual units may vary, but a thorough restoration of a 2-bedroom apartment could cost up to $15,000.
But once the home is cleaned and restored, keeping it smokefree leads to many benefits for the property manager and the owner. We have seen more timely lease-ups, which leads to increased rents and a very satisfied client. It is definitely worth the time, investment and commitment.
~Barb Casey, Marketing Director, Kennedy Restoration
315 SE 7th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97214
Several years ago, a statewide survey in California showed that more than 85% of apartment renters and owners/mangers in California agreed that secondhand tobacco smoke is harmful to people. Based on our more recent surveys, that percentage has increased. Apartment owners know that tobacco smoke is also harmful to an apartment unit. The small particles in the smoke can stick to surfaces, such as walls, ceilings, rugs, windows and even the ventilation system. Scientists have a name for that: third-hand smoke. Studies are showing that third-hand smoke may be even more dangerous than secondhand smoke. Also, hot ashes can burn holes in rugs and damage counter tops. The cost of preparing a unit for the next tenant after it has been smoked in can be three to five times as much as preparing it when the previous resident was a non-smoker.
CIG is the leader in offering smoke-free insurance to apartment building owners and condominium associations in the Western US
MONTEREY, Calif. (December 27, 2011) – The new California State Law, SB 332, makes it easier for landlords to convert their rental property into a smoke-free environment. With over 30 percent of California residences being multi-family housing, Capital Insurance Group’s (CIG) expertise in smoke-free coverage may make the decision to go smoke-free for California landlords even more appealing.
Effective January 1, 2012, landlords will be permitted to enforce strict restrictions against smoking on a residential rental property. These restrictions will extend from within the dwelling unit as well as anywhere on the premises.
Staff of the Smokefree Apartment House Registry get a lot of phone calls from landlords who are concerned about drifting tobacco smoke in their rent-controlled apartment buildings. Frequently, the person who is smoking is a tenant who has lived in the building for 15 to 20 years. And the person who is complaining is a new tenant, perhaps with a lease. The person who is smoking may be below or above the new tenant or in a unit adjacent to the new tenant.
What can a landlord do?
Our organization has conducted more than a thousand surveys of apartment residents in several different cities in Los Angeles County including West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Los Angeles, all cities with rent control.
The Purpose of the Survey: to assess tenant receptiveness to the adoption of a no smoking policy in your building or complex.
Definition of a no smoking policy: No smoking would be permitted in all units, balconies/patios, and common areas inside and outside. If desired, an area for smoking could be set aside outdoors, but at least 25 feet away from buildings and outdoor areas designated for recreation.
But if tenants complain about smoking in the designated smoking area, it should be discontinued.
How exposed are your profits to claims arising from secondhand smoke?
A young couple, Jack and Jennifer Jones, who has been renting one of your units for several years, has just brought home their new baby, Jane. The tenants in that building have all been there for some time and everyone seems to get along. Just last month, one of the tenants in a unit adjacent to Jack and Jennifer moved out and a new tenant moved in. As it happens, the new tenant, Jeremy, smokes and the smoke is drifting into Jack and Jen’s unit.