Tobacco consumption is not as common as it was just a few decades ago. An increase in public awareness about the risks of smoking combined with the increased cost of tobacco products has led to a tapering off of smoking in general and amenities targeted at smokers.
Still, millions of Americans smoke regularly. Many individuals may want to smoke at home, even if they can’t smoke at work or when dining at a restaurant anymore. Although tobacco users may want a comfortable place to smoke, their landlords may not allow smoking in their properties.
Cigarette or cigar use can easily lead to conflicts between landlords and tenants. Can a landlord financially penalize or evict a tenant for smoking in one of their units?
The lease generally determines what steps a landlord can take
California does not have a law specifically prohibiting the use of tobacco products inside residential properties. However, the state does restrict smoking in certain public places, such as right outside of a residential building where other people live. Property owners have to make their own decisions about tobacco use.
Landlords in California have the right to include certain restrictions in the leases that they execute. They can limit any actions that might damage their units or lead to financial or legal problems. Given that it can cost as much as $15,000 to address the cosmetic damage and health risks caused by smoking tobacco inside an apartment, landlords may have a strong incentive to prohibit tobacco use or make a financial claim against a tenant who smoked inside in violation of their lease.
Learning more about California’s laws can help you respond appropriately during a landlord-tenant conflict about tobacco.