Smoking in Multi-Unit Housing Prohibited

Last year, the City Council passed a comprehensive ordinance that prohibits smoking in places of employment, outdoor public places, and in multi-unit housing (defined as premises containing two (2) or more units). The law, which took effect on January 2, 2012, means to protect residents and visitors from the 7,000 toxins contained in the smoke. Over the past year, City staff has spent time educating and informing the community about the ordinance with several informational meetings and an outreach program. Effective January 1, 2013, smoking will no longer be allowed inside any multi-unit housing such as: apartments, condominiums, planned unit developments, and co-op units, including balconies, porches, and decks.

To support the in-unit prohibitions of the ordinance, landlords are required to incorporate no-smoking clauses into their leases or other agreements of occupancy. “The ordinance prohibits smoking within multi-unit housing, it does not prohibit smokers from occupancy, says Angie Watson-Hajjem, Fair Housing Specialist with ECHO Housing. “Landlords cannot deny housing to smokers because it’s the behavior that is prohibited, not the person. However, they can evict if a person is smoking within their unit.”

Violations of the ordinance are punishable as infractions and subject to fines ranging from $100 to $500. The Alameda Police Department, the Fire Marshall, and Code Enforcement are primarily responsible for enforcing the Ordinance; however, remedies are also available through the civil court system which may be brought by private parties. For more information, please visit the City’s website at: