the CFM Distinction

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Newsflash: Tough Secondhand Smoke Laws for Contra Costa County Condominiums

By Andrea L. O'Toole, Esq

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors has just passed an ordinance that bans smoking in all areas of new multi-unit residences. This follows a recent trend in the Bay Area as several cities and counties are more aggressively regulating secondhand smoke in multi-unit residential buildings. See article regarding San Francisco’s recently-enacted secondhand smoke regulations Contra Costa ordinance further limits where persons may smoke within existing multi-unit residences.

A multi-unit residence is a building having four or more dwelling units and, as such, would include most residential condominium buildings and many mixed-use residential/commercial buildings. Three cities in Contra Costa County - Richmond in 2009, and more recently, Pinole and Pleasant Hill - have already passed similar regulation of secondhand smoke.

Existing Buildings: Existing law already prohibits smoking in all indoor common areas of multi-unit residences and provides strict guidelines for where smoking may occur in outdoor common areas. (Health & Safety Code §445-4.004) The new ordinance extends that prohibition to exclusive use common areas as well, including outdoor balconies, porches, decks, patios, and carports.
New Buildings: With respect to new condominium buildings - those with building permits issued after January 1, 2011 - smoking will be prohibited in all areas of the condominium buildings. That means that the smoking prohibition will pertain not just to the shared common areas of a building, but to the inside of the condominium units as well. The same restrictions apply for exclusive use common areas as discussed above. The ordinance further requires that leases, new and renewed, include non-smoking provisions.

These new regulations apply only to those properties situated within the unincorporated areas of the County and take effect January 1, 2011.


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