Santa Monica moves foward with a new smoking ban on new renters

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Chuck Rank, a tourist from Pennsylvania, smokes a cigar at the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica.

The city of Santa Monica is moving forward with a new smoking ban—this time for new apartment renters.

The city council passed the ordinance Tuesday night by a 4-2 preliminary vote. Adam Radinsky with the city attorney’s office explained how the new law will work.

“All new occupancies in apartments and condominiums, both new construction and vacancies that are created by someone just moving out—all of those units will now be non-smoking. The second thing is that existing occupants—both tenants and condo residents – will have to designate their units as either smoking or non-smoking.”

Neither police nor landlords would be responsible for enforcing the new rules, “But once a unit is designated non-smoking, and you can’t smoke in there,” said Radinsky. “There will be remedies for people who persist in violating that after being told about the law.”

If renters violate the ordinance, a landlord—even a neighbor—may choose to take the person to small claims court to settle the dispute. And the renter could face a $100 fine for the first violation, $200 for a second—and up to $500 for a third violation.

The idea behind the new ordinance is to protect people from second-hand smoke.

“We’re going to be getting out the word so that our residents are aware of this,” Radinsky explained, “And Santa Monica sees this as a good step forward to public health.

Radinsky said the new law will likely take effect in late August. But the city council still needs to give it a second reading.

The city’s staff also has to recommend a date on which all existing apartments and condos would be declared smoke-free.

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