If you are a landlord and you want to make your building a non-smoking building, then you can thanks to a new California law in effect January 1, 2012. However, if your leases currently allow smoking in certain areas of the property then you may have a problem. The new law makes clear the owner’s right to limit smoking in units, but also makes clear that an existing right to smoke is a material provision of the rental agreement, whether it is stated as material or not.
For new tenants, the lease or rental agreement should specify the areas on the property where smoking is prohibited. For existing tenants, a ban on smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products in any part of the property in which smoking was previously allowed does constitute a change of the terms of the tenancy, which requires adequate notice in writing. Therefore, tenants on a month to month rental agreement can be given 30 days’ notice of the smoking ban.
If existing tenants are under a longer term tenancy, then the parties would need to enter into a new agreement on expiration of the existing agreement or modify the existing agreement in writing. It is clear, now landlords have legislative authority to ban smoking if they choose to. This ban can decrease the risk of accidental fires and can even reduce fire insurance premiums.