New Smoking Law Affects All Santa Monica Apartments And Condos

October 24, 2012


Adam Radinsky, Head, Consumer Protection Unit

Santa Monica yesterday adopted a law with new smoking rules that affect all multi-unit housing in the City. The law includes the following:

  • All new occupancies after 11/22/12 are non-smoking:  Starting November 22, 2012, all newly occupied units in multi-unit residential properties in Santa Monica are declared non-smoking. This includes all apartments and condominiums. So, anyone moving into an apartment or condo in Santa Monica after November 22 can’t smoke in the unit.
  • Owners must start smoking survey by 1/21/13Before January 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, see the attached “designation process” sheet or go to
  • Current occupants grandfathered:  Existing occupants can continue to smoke inside their units if they designate the units as “smoking.”
  • Common areas too:  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.

Questions and Answers

Q: Are there exceptions to the law?  If a property is already 100% smoke-free, the designation process is not required. The law also does not apply to temporary special needs housing for people with disabling conditions.

Q: How is the law enforced?  Most compliance is 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.

Q: Are property owners required to enforce the law?  No. They are only required to conduct the survey and keep updated lists available. They are not required to enforce violations of the no-smoking rules.

Q: What happens if a property owner refuses to conduct the initial survey and give out the required information? The owner can be prosecuted for violating the Municipal Code.

Q: Can a tenant be evicted for violating this law?  No. But a tenant can still be evicted if the lease prohibits smoking.

Q: What about medical marijuana?  If a unit is non-smoking, then medical marijuana can’t be smoked inside. If a doctor specifically requests that a disabled occupant may smoke marijuana indoors, and the occupant 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, 310-458-8336.

Q: Where can I get help with quitting?  Go to, or call 1-800-NO-BUTTS.

Q: Where can I get more information?  Go to, or call the City Attorney’s Office, 310-458-8336.

4.44.020 Prohibitions.

(a) Smoking in Specific Locations. It shall be unlawful to smoke in the following places:

(1) Any elevator;

(2) Any public park;

(3) Any public beach;

(4) Anywhere on the Santa Monica Pier;

(5) Any outdoor service area;

(6) Inside any public building (as that term is defined in Government Code Section 7596);

(7) Any outdoor dining area;

(8) Within twenty feet of the entrance, exit or open window of any building open to the public;

(9) The Third Street Promenade;

(10) Any farmers’ market;

(11) The property of any public library.

(b) Disposal of Smoking Waste. No person shall dispose of any cigarette, cigar or tobacco, or any part of a cigarette or cigar, in any place where smoking is prohibited under this Chapter, except in a designated waste disposal container.

(c) Liability of Businesses. No business owner, operator or manager shall knowingly or intentionally allow smoking in an outdoor dining area that is under his, her or its control. This law does not require the physical ejection of any person from the business or the taking of steps to prevent smoking under circumstances that would involve a significant risk of physical harm.

(d) Posting of Signs. Every business that owns or controls an outdoor dining area covered under subsection (a)(7) shall post one or more prominent signs in conspicuous locations to apprise users of the prohibition of smoking in that outdoor dining area. Multiple signs must be provided as needed for larger areas to ensure that signs are readily visible to all users of the area.

(e) Enforcement and Penalties.

(1) Infraction. A violation of this Section is an infraction and shall be punished by a fine of one hundred dollars for the first violation; two hundred dollars for a second violation within one year; and five hundred dollars for a third and subsequent violations within one year.

(2) Nonexclusive Remedies and Penalties. Punishment under this Section shall not preclude punishment pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 13002, Penal Code Section 374.4, or any other law proscribing the act of littering. Nothing in this Section shall preclude any person from seeking any other remedies, penalties or procedures provided by law. (Added by Ord. No. 2122CCS § 1 (part), adopted 4/27/04; amended by Ord. No. 2210CCS § 1 (part), adopted 10/24/06; Ord. No. 2259CCS § 1, adopted 4/22/08; Ord. No. 2282CCS § 1, adopted 1/27/09; Ord. No. 2318CCS § 1, adopted 8/10/10; Ord. No. 2321CCS § 2, adopted 9/14/10; Ord. No. 2355CCS § 1, adopted 4/26/11)

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