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 Contact Us

​For questions regarding the UCLA-SAFE project, please Email Us​ or call 1-866-252-3383.
To reach our staff:

Peggy Toy, MA
Program Director

Marlene Gomez, MPH
Program Manager

Terry Kanakri
Communications Specialist
Project Partners include:
Visit our Frequently Asked Questons wepgage to learn more about the project.

 Smokefree Apartments are a Viable Option for Landlords


As a property owner, you want to protect your investment from any liability or damages. You also want to make sure that at the end-of-the-day, your business stays profitable.

Allowing smoking in your rental property is something that could compromise your investment. You’re probably wondering if you legally can prohibit smoking in your apartment building, without violating the law or infringing on your residents’ rights. The truth is, smoking is not a protected right. As a matter of fact, it’s not discriminatory to restrict smoking in your apartment complex. The California Legislature reiterated such a position when new legislation took effect in 2012, officially recognizing your right as a landlord to prohibit smoking on your property.

Responsibility to Your Tenants

As a landlord, you have a responsibility to provide a “safe and habitable space” to your residents. Smoking in a unit or a balcony may be a legal activity, but if that smoke drifts into another resident’s unit, it could prevent that person from using and enjoying his or her premises. In addition, the drifting tobacco smoke could be considered trespass, and represents a serious health hazard that could open up possible litigation. The California Air Resources Board in 2006 identified tobacco smoke as a Toxic Air Contaminant with NO safe level of exposure.

Communicating With Your Tenants
If you’re a landlord, including in communities with rent control, here are some options for you to consider as you explain to your residents your intent to convert your apartment complex to smokefree status:

• Talk to the resident who is smoking, and explain that there is substantial information indicating that exposure to tobacco smoke can make residents of neighboring units sick, and even cause death. Explain that tobacco smoke consists of both particulate matter and gases that can move from unit to unit in a variety of ways, including through the walls, plumbing, electrical system, ventilation system, as well as doors and windows – even when they’re closed.
• Explain that secondhand smoke in an apartment attaches itself to walls, floors, rugs, window coverings, furniture and even clothing. This is called thirdhand smoke and it’s harmful, as it will outgas itself back into the room even when no one is smoking.

Benefits of Going Smokefree
In addition to promoting public health, as a landlord, you could save thousands of dollars in maintenance and insurance costs by going smokefree. In a joint report, CA4Health and ChangeLab Solutions state the average cost of turning over a non-smoking unit is $5,000 less than turning over a unit where past tenants smoked. In addition, rehabbing related to smoking in a unit can include painting, repairing walls, ceilings and fixtures and replacing carpeting that can total as much as $15,000 in extra costs.

Another benefit of a smokefree policy is that it reduces the likelihood of legal claims against you from a tenant who develops an illness or suffers harm because of exposure to secondhand or thirdhand smoke. That’s why for you, as a landlord, it makes perfect sense to make your apartments smokefree.

For tools on how you can convert your property into a smokefree community, please contact the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles at (213) 384-4130, Ext. 704, or email.

You may also learn more about how landlords can prohibit smoking in rental housing, about landlords’ right to make their properties smokefree, as well as find other useful tools by visiting the Smokefree Apartment House Registry. You can also learn how you may adopt smokefree policies in your apartment buildings, including rent-controlled properties.  
Smokefree Lease Addendum
To access a Model Smokefree Lease Adddendum to provide to your tenant, please click here.
This project is made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention