CITY HALL — You no longer have to leave the safety of your own home to violate a Santa Monica anti-smoking law.
As of today, it’s illegal to smoke outdoors within 25-feet of any apartment building door, window or vent — a rule aimed at preventing smokers from lighting up on patios and balconies of multi-unit residential properties.
The new law was uncontroversial when it came before the City Council recently. Mayor Bobby Shriver, who said he supported the concept of the balcony and patio ban but felt the ordinance should have gone further by requiring landlords to designate certain units as non-smoking, cast the only dissenting vote.
Under the law, a person who smokes in a restricted area is subject to a court-ordered payment of $100 for the first offense. Subsequent violations carry payments of $200 and $500 respectively.
Landlords are also required to post at least one conspicuous sign in an apartment or condo common area notifying residents of the new law and the remedy. They also must give notice by Dec. 1 to all tenants in affected units informing them of the new locations where smoking is banned and the remedies for enforcing the new law.
In order to enforce a penalty for breaking the new smoking law a resident has to file a complaint in small claims court.
Existing law already prohibits smoking in multi-unit residential building common areas like yards, walkways, and play areas. Smoking also is banned on Santa Monica beaches, at public waiting areas like bus stops, in parks, outdoor dining areas and on the Third Street Promenade.