This past January 1, landlords in California were given the right to restrict smoking on their residential rental properties now that SB 332 was signed into law. Sen. Alex Padillo, who sponsored the bill, said that although 86 percent of Californians do not smoke, there is very little smoke-free housing available in California. While smokers may not like the new law, it is difficult to dispute that the new law will reduce the danger of fire, the expenses associated with rental turnover, and complaints from neighbors regarding secondhand smoke.
According to the California Apartment Association (CAA) News, the bill “specifically authorizes rental property owners to prohibit the smoking of a cigarette or other tobacco product by anyone on the property or in any building or portion of the building, including any dwelling unit, other interior or exterior area, or the premises on which it is located.”
Those who entered into lease or rental agreements prior to January 1, 2012 in which smoking was previously permitted, must be provided with written notice with regard to the prohibition against smoking on a property. Agreements signed on or after the effective date must include a provision that specifies the areas on the property where smoking is prohibited.
One landlord, Towbes Group Inc, took advantage of the new law starting in June. Their decision has affected 13 apartment complexes with nearly 2,000 units. New residents may not smoke in the units, and those who are already living there have till the end of 2012 to comply with the new restrictions. The savings in cleaning costs will be significant as it costs twice as much to clean after a smoking tenant leaves.
Ordinances have been passed in many communities restricting smoking in multi-unit common areas, and requiring a certain amount of units be set aside as smoke-free. The new state law does not preempt local laws which prohibit individuals from smoking tobacco at public and private property. “Private residences” are exempt from this law.
The new law provides several benefits to rental inhabitants. It will reduce the cost of cleaning units between renters. Toxins from secondhand smoke can make their way through shared ventilation systems, triggering respiratory illnesses, such as asthma and bronchitis, in children and adults. Your non-smoking rental could suddenly smell like smoke from any smokers living around you. The smokers’ tar and nicotine deposits itself on interior surfaces and carpeting as third-hand smoke. This residue contains cancer-causing substances and can create tobacco-related health problems when inhaled, ingested or touched. Third-hand smoke residue can be harmful to pets. It also builds up over time and resists normal cleaning.
Going smokefree may not be easy for the 14 percent who still smoke in California, but it is a healthier way to live for 100 percent of all residents.
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Note: the above pictures do not reflect Towbes Group Inc properties.