With the official adoption of Santa Monica’s latest smoking ban comes the facts behind the new law.
Starting Nov. 22, all newly occupied units in multi-unit residential properties are declared non-smoking, according to the City Attorney’s Office. This includes all apartments and condominiums. So, anyone moving into an apartment or condo in Santa Monica after Nov. 22 can’t smoke in the unit.
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.
Existing occupants can continue to smoke inside their units if they designate the units as “smoking.”
Once the survey is done, landlords and associations 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.
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.
Compliance is hoped to be 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. Property owners are not being asked to enforce the ban.
The only exception to the law is if a property is already 100 percent smoke-free. The law also does not apply to temporary special needs housing for people with disabling conditions.
Although the ban is being written into law, a tenant cannot be evicted for violating the ordinance.
As for medical marijuana, it too is prohibited under the ban. If a doctor specifically requests that a disabled person smoke marijuana, and they 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 at (310) 458-8336.