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Smoking in Your Apartment? Think Again

A new smoking law that went into effect Feb. 23 could land you a fine of up to $1,000.

You might want to think twice before sparking that cigarette on your apartment balcony.

Effective since Feb. 23 is a new ordinance that makes it illegal to smoke in all multi-family rental complexes with two or more units where a single landlord owns at least half of the units, according to the city’s municipal code.

The ban also applies to balconies, porches, decks and patios connected to rental units. The restrictions, however, do not apply for medicinal marijuana patients.

Anyone who violates the smoking law may be subject to criminal prosecution or civil enforcement with a fine of up to $1,000, according to associate planner Avalon Schultz.

to restrict smoking in public spaces and reduce tobacco sales, landlords were given a 14-month grace period to notify tenants of the city’s new restrictions, install signage and, if they choose, create designated smoking areas.

The smoking areas must be clearly marked and located at least 25-feet away from prohibited zones such as playgrounds, swimming pools and other public use spaces.

The smoke-free housing ordinance makes Union City a leader in the county, Schultz said.

The City of Union City recently received for its smoke-free policies. Albany was the only other city in Alameda County to receive the high mark with Alameda — whose public smoking ordinance took effect in January — trailing behind with a B grade. 

Union City had a D grade prior to passing the 2010 smoking ordinances, according to an American Lung Association policy director.

Mona Taplin March 06, 2012 at 09:43 PM
That will be a very difficult ordinance to enforce.
Davis March 07, 2012 at 12:02 AM
And of course, the Apartment dweller will search for the person "ratting" him out. Could be bloody. By the way, do we have enough Police Officers to enforce this? Or maybe the City will put out a bounty!!, Big Brother?
Tim March 07, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I'm torn on this issue. I certainly don't want to infringe on one's freedom to use their property or the property under their control (rented) for any lawful purpose including smoking. But, I think that is a two way street because if my unit is directly above your unit and you're smoking on your balcony and your secondhand smoke is polluting my space on my balcony then you are infringing on my right to enjoy my space. It will be a complaint driven enforcement where citizens can call and an enforcement agent (police or code enforcement) will likely respond.
Carly March 07, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I totally agree with Tim, as always. This is really a fine line between nanny state and the rights of nonsmokers. We live in a townhouse and the neighbor smokes in the backyard and it comes into our home. Really can't stand it. This won't apply to the law as we are not rental units. You would think that the cost alone (not to mention all the health stuff) would keep people from smoking but it doesn't.
gato pelon March 07, 2012 at 05:03 PM
This will be a non issue in years to come as fewer and fewer take up this dirty habit. I'm sure glad I don't live in an apt and have too smell someone else smoke.
Carly March 07, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I can't believe that people smoke in the cars!!! Way to really wreck your car! And, you can smell it in every car around them.
Betsy March 09, 2012 at 12:16 AM
I live in a rental apartment and many of our neighbors smoking is a nuisance to my family. I am not sure I can make that call to rat them out but what are the police really going to do if I call to make a complaint, they dont even come now when you call for other things!
Agustin gomez March 12, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I need some help my neighbour downstair don't stop to smoking 24/7 in the apartment. Thems no working I need number to report that tku.
Htp June 13, 2012 at 04:57 AM
I just moved into the neighborhood and into this apartment complex. I thought since this is a smoke free area I won't have to worry too much. Sadly that's not true. I'm renting a room and one person I am staying with smokes and the neighbors smokes too. I'm a non smoker and this erks me since I am sensitive to it. I don't think my rental papers reflect that...

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