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Facts About Santa Monica’s Non-Smoking Law

Households who moved into their residential multifamily units on, or after, November 22, 2012, have occupancies that are non-smoking. Tenants or owners occupying an apartment or condo since that date are not allowed to smoke in the unit, nor can their guests.

People who moved into their unit before November 22, 2012, should have received a survey from their landlord or condo association asking them to designate their unit as a “smoking” unit or “non-smoking” unit.

Households who choose NOT to answer the survey will have their units listed as “undesignated”.  Smoking in undesignated units is permitted.

Occupants who choose to designate their unit “non-smoking” cannot change it back to a “smoking” unit. A decision to designate a unit “non-smoking” is permanent.

Under the law, a landlord or condo association had until February 20, 2013 to notify you of the survey results of all the units in your building, and you should have been given had until April 21, 2013 to make changes to your unit designation if you wanted to make a change. People who still haven’t received the first survey results and want to change their designation should do so immediately in writing to their landlord or condo association. If there are any problems making such a change one might contact a local tenant or real estate attorney.

A landlord or condo association had until May 21, 2013 to distribute the final list of the “smoking” and “undesignated” unit locations to all occupants at the property.

It is your landlord or condo association’s responsibility to keep this list updated, and provide latest results to all future and prospective occupants (and to current occupants upon request).

Remember, smoking has not been allowed in common areas of multi-unit housing units for years. In addition, all outdoor locations within 25 feet of a door, window, or vent are no-smoking areas and any other designated non-smoking areas, including most balconies and patios.

No tenant can be evicted for violation of the Santa Monica smoking ordinance.

The enforcement mechanism for violations of the smoking ordinance is that any person can bring a small claims action against an occupant for violating the ordinance. A person who observes violations of the smoking ordinance must first ask the smoker in writing to stop and provide the smoker with a copy of the ordinance and the City Attorney’s fact sheet. If the smoker continues to smoke, the observer may bring a Small Claims action, and if the complainant proves their case, then a first offense violation is a payment of $100. The second offense in a 12 month period is a payment of $250, and the third offense is a payment of $500.

Information about filing and defending a Small Claims court action will be provided by the Clerk of the Court at the Santa Monica Court House, 1725 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. 

A list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers provided by the City of Santa Monica can be found at or Santa Monica Smoking Law Document.

The City Attorney’s Office 310-458-8336 and Rent Control Board 310-458-8751 have knowledge of these rules.

SMRR Hotline for tenancy problems: 310-394-0848.