California is considering a new law that protects the right of apartment owners to restrict smoking in rental units:
Sen. Alex Padilla says his bill would ensure that owners of rental housing have the option to ban smoking.
“The way the law is (currently) written…, it’s not explicit for landlords to declare smoke-free housing units without being sued,” he said. “We’re trying to make the law a little more clear, a little more explicit.”
The bill, scheduled to be heard Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, would allow landlords to ban smoking on all or a portion of their property, including in any building on the site.
Tenants could continue to smoke inside their homes until their pre-smoking ban rental agreements expired. A violation would be considered a breach of the agreement and could lead to eviction.
I suspect that, given inflated fears over secondhand smoke and the contemporary anti-tobacco mindset, there is a good chance that an excessive number of apartment buildings will go smokefree and have a hard time reversing their decision when the current hysteria is over. However, I support the right of people to form smokefree communities, and of landlords to provide spaces for them. Allowing smoking is not very different from allowing dogs or cats. If existing law is unclear on this point, the proposed change sounds like a useful clarification.