New law gives landlords more authority with smokers

January 2, 2012 8:48:10 PM PST
The state of California is now making it a little tougher on smokers and a little easier on landlords to keep cigarettes off their property.

Smoking may not be illegal in California, but finding a place to do it just got tougher. A new law gives landlords the legal authority to ban smoking almost anywhere in and on their property.

Val Vradenburg is an asthmatic who's had a hard time living next to smokers in the past.

"It's gross walking through clouds of smoke on the way to your house and if someone's smoking next door to you and your window's open it goes right into your apartment," Vradenburg said.

The new law requires landlords to specifically list in rental agreements and leases the areas where smoking is prohibited. Besides inside the units, the ban can include balconies, parking lots and other common areas.

Many tenants say they like the new law.

"Yeah, because I hate when I'm in my apartment and the person below me is smoking and the smoke goes right up to my apartment," one tenant said. "I can't stand that; it just drives me banana-sandwich."

Many property owners in California already have smoking bans in place, but the new law gives them greater legal authority if challenged.

John gentile owns more than a dozen rental units in the Bay Area, from San Mateo to the Monument Corridor in Concord. Gentile says the new law won't affect how he chooses his tenants going forward.

"I've rented to smokers in the past and currently and I don't have a problem with them, they've been very good at maintaining the property," Gentile said.

Last July, the State Department of Public Health announced smoking rates had reached record lows in California -- just 12 percent of the adult population.