Last month, the City of Concord adopted an ordinance prohibiting smoking and vaping in and around multiunit and attached residences. This restriction applies to both interior and exterior areas (patios, balconies, decks, and porches) of rental and ownership housing types including: apartments, attached condominiums, and townhomes.
A designated smoking area can be established if certain criteria are met, such as being 25 feet away from an area used by children.
The smoking ban went into effect on February 6, 2020 for new units, including new construction. For existing units, it [went] into effect on January 1, 2021.
What qualifies as a multiunit residence? A multiunit residence includes any property containing two or more residences or any attached residence, or a residence sharing a common wall. It also applies to the following unit types and circumstances:
- Mobile homes
- Manufactured homes (typically known as RV parks and mobile home parks)
- Dwelling areas in residential facilities such as group homes
- Residential care facilities
- Permanent supportive housing
- Transitional housing
- Assisted living facilities
- Emergency and homeless shelters
Designated Smoking Areas: An outdoor designated smoking area may be established by the property owner if it meets certain criteria, such as being at least 25 feet away from an area used by children.
What areas or spaces does the ban cover? The ban on smoking in and around multiunit developments applies to the interior areas of housing units, as well as private exclusive-use unenclosed space (e.g. patios, balconies, decks, or porches, etc.). However, designated outdoor smoking areas based on specific criteria may be permitted.
How does the ban work? The smoking ban is required to be included in lease and rental agreement provisions. The provisions must inform existing and prospective tenants and owners that smoking is prohibited in the unit, including exclusive-use unenclosed areas such as decks and balconies, and common areas that are not designated as a smoking area.
The regulation allows for a private right of enforcement (civil action), meaning that a neighbor or other concerned party can file a civil action in a court of law if they believe the ordinance is being violated. The ban is also subject to enforcement by the City of Concord.
What should I do if smoking is occurring at my multiunit residence in violation of the ordinance? Smoking in a unit or a common area that is not designated as a smoking area would be a violation of apartment/HOA regulations. Contact your property manager first. In addition, occupants may enforce these provisions by filing a civil action in a court of law.
What type of substances and devices do the regulations cover? Smoking, including the use of electronic smoking devices (vaping) containing any tobacco, nicotine, vaping aerosol, or cannabis product are prohibited by this ordinance.
What are the notification requirements for landlords and HOAs? Every landlord should deliver the following to each existing unit and shall provide prospective tenants with a written notice clearly stating:
- All units are designated as non-smoking units. Smoking is illegal in a unit, including any associated exclusive-use area or unenclosed area, such as a private balcony, porch, deck, or patio as of January 1, 2021; and
- Smoking in all common areas is illegal, unless an outdoor space is designated as a smoking area.
- A copy of Ordinance No. 19-7.
What are the required lease provisions? Every lease or rental agreement entered into, renewed, or continued month-to-month after January 1, 2021 shall include the following provisions:
- A clause expressly conveying that it is a material breach of the agreement to knowingly or intentionally allow, or engage in, smoking in the unit and exclusive-use areas such as balconies, porches, or patios, or common areas, other than a designated smoking area.
- A clause expressly conveying that it is a material breach of the agreement for the tenant to violate any law regulating smoking while on the property or to knowingly and intentionally allow any other person subject to control of the tenant to engage in such behavior.
- A clause expressly conveying third-party beneficiary status to all occupants of the multiunit residences for the smoking provisions of the lease or other rental agreement.
What are the posting and signage requirements for landlords/HOAs? Clear and unambiguous “No Smoking/Vaping” signs in sufficient numbers and locations are required in common areas where smoking is prohibited. The signs shall be maintained by the person(s) with legal control over the common area. Signage is not required inside units or on doorways.
What if a property does not have signage? The smoking ban will remain in effect at all multiunit properties regardless of whether signage has been posted.
For additional questions, contact Mindy Gentry, Planning Manager, at [email protected] or by calling 925.671.3369.