California landlords can ban smoking in multifamily apartments or condos as new law took effect Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012
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California landlords can ban smoking in multifamily apartments or condos as new law took effect Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012

Sacramento : CA : USA | Jan 02, 2012 at 2:38 PM PST
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Landlords of apartment houses can ban smoking as new law went into effect on Sunday, January 1, 2012. The measure is aimed at multi-family housing in Sacramento and throughout California. Check out the January 2, 2012 Sacramento Bee article by Mark Glover, "State now allows smoking bans in multifamily housing."

The new California law specifies that landlords must comply with existing federal, state and local requirements for changing terms of a rental or lease agreement which was signed before Sunday, January 1, 2012. It will be wonderful when the smoke stops pouring through the air vents from one apartment to the next. But that won't stop the neighbors from outdoor barbeques or cooking indoors where the stench of burnt meat and fat wafts through the vent just like the cigar and cigarette smoke used to.

Worse yet is when the marijuana fumes from those medically prescribed wafts through the vents to the apartment next door right into the baby's room for those families living in apartments where the neighbor's health practices, habits, and traditions affects the family next to them all because the air vents from one apartment lets in the smells, smoke, and residue from the next apartment. The same goes for burning wood, fireplaces, and cooking odors.

Now you have to deal with those in addition to the paper-thin walls of many Sacramento apartments where you can hear the person snoring loudly all night in the next apartment because your bedroom wall is next to your neighbor's bedroom wall or bathroom.

When we lived in apartments for the first 35 years of our family life before we bought a home, there was no getting away from the sound of the neighbor next door coughing all night, flushing the toilet--loud noise all night, and talking or playing music....just as if it were a hotel room. Smoking was the worse as the smoker next door puffed away and the person in the next apartment with asthma, allergy, or chronic bronchitis had to endure the smoke.

In Sacramento, apartment dwellers had to deal with incessant barking because the service dogs allowed slept all night without barking all the time. Pets relatively were peaceful for people who used service animals.

What was frightening besides the smoke was the heavy waterbed above you in the apartment on the next floor up with visions of it crashing through the ceiling. At least in California the landlords, at least have long had the right to water beds in their units, can now prohibit smoking under a new law that took effect Sunday. Some landlords still restrict pets. But if you're renting a house, there's no way a landlord not living on the premises can restrict noise.

So the teenagers in the family close by (rented private home) would set off loud, explosive noises on holidays to rattle the elderly people next door, scaring away their cat several years ago. As more single men bought houses for cash that were foreclosed and rented them out with the low price of housing this year, more rentals on a block formerly owned by families slowly aging out of their starter homes and into the rest home are becoming more smoky, noisy, and air-polluting.

California Senate Bill 332, authored by state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 6. Will Sacramento see more of a healthy trend with the added availability of smoke-free, multifamily housing? Perhaps landlords so eager to not have vacancies will let people smoke because at this time for many it's cheaper to buy a house than to keep on renting, unless you're faced with the increased competition from investors who flip single family houses or buy them for cash and rent them out.

On our block so far two houses sold to single men for around $160,000 cash only and begrudged families or retiree couples out of living in private houses because they couldn't come down with the full cash price of the house. Years ago you could get a VA loan or FHA loan and buy a house.

Nowadays, the house is sold to someone with the full cash amount, usually a single male investor who rents the house out or flips it as soon as home prices go back to normal. So many families and older couples are left with the alternative--rentals. And many people with smoke allergies are tired of the neighbor next door smoking when the smoke is wafting through the vents into the other neighbor's apartment or condo.

The new law requires landlords to specify in their lease/rental agreements areas where smoking is prohibited on their properties. Upscale apartment complexes are more likely to have smoking prohibitions than low-income units or apartments for seniors. At least it's legal to restrict smoking.

For smokers who don't realize that smoking is damaging not only their lungs and throat but also the smaller chambers of their heart, are still free to smoke in apartments where the landlord isn't restricting or smokes himself/herself. You're still free to smoke as long as the landlord says you can. At least sharing and sparing the air becomes the neighborly good deed to do--keeping Sacramento's small-particle polluted air a little cleaner for the family sensitive to smoke.

Some Sacramento apartments have had in-unit smoking restrictions at his properties for nearly a decade without a serious challenge to their legality. More than thirty percent of all housing in California are multi-family dwellings. The issue is that, according to the Sacramento Bee article, more than 86 percent of Californians do not smoke.

It's a good health trend when support for no-smoking apartment complexes included the Aging Services of California, the American Diabetes Association and the California Medical Association. Sacramento has come a long way from the 1940s and 1950s advertisements saying how many doctors endorsed smoking a particular brand of cigarettes.

The bill has been backed up by many health studies indicating that secondhand smoke can travel throughout multifamily dwellings and cause harm to occupants. Children are particularly vulnerable, according to a 2010 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, according to the Sacramento Bee article.

Yes, you still can choose apartments where the landlords don't care whether you smoke or not in Sacramento. Some landlords don't want to lose tenants. And others are so eager to rent to tenants and make money to pay off their own mortgage on their apartment house that they won't demand that you stop smoking. It's your choice.

If you're a smoker, there's always the Smoker's Club, Inc. fighting for your right to smoke. The state isn't really attacking smokers. Instead the state is trying to protect those sickened by the scent of second hand smoke from making them sicker.

If you're one of the thousands allergic to smoke to have chronic bronchitis, COPD, emphysema, mesothelioma, lung problems, asthma, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, or other illnesses and sensitivities to smoke, or if you're pregnant, sick to your stomach at the smell of smoke, or have health reasons to avoid smoke or have a child you don't want exposed to smoke, you don't need to breathe smoke from a smoker next door.

There is protection if you look for non-smoking living quarters. After all, there are non-smoking hotels. Do you smoke in Sacramento? See, Places for smokers club near Sacramento, CA and The Smoker's Club, Inc.

The Smoker's Club, Inc. is home of the United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter. The club features quality, brand name. tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and gift items. But many smokers would like to quit, but can't because they're addicted to smoking.

It seems that in Sacramento the stricter the laws against smoking indoors, the more people are smoking outdoors, especially at bus stops, where as soon as several people light up their cigarettes, the older adults on the bus bench stand up and move away.

AnneHart is based in Sacramento, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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  • State now allows smoking bans in multifamily housing

      Sacramento Bee
    California Senate Bill 332, authored by state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 6. With Brown's signature, Padilla said, "we will see the availability of smoke-free, multifamily housing grow throughout...

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