The San Francisco Tobacco Smoke Disclosure Ordinance became effective on January 1, 2014. It requires that all new leases disclose if there are any other units in the building that contain tobacco smoke. This does not apply to medical marijuana, only tobacco. The purpose of this ordinance is to protect people who are sensitive to smoke. If you have an asthmatic person moving next door to a heavy smoker, that tenant is not going to be happy. This disclosure alerts tenants that cigarette smoke is present and may drift throughout the building.
To comply with this new regulation, you need to look at all the units in your building and determine who may or may not be smokers. We did this fairly efficiently at Gordon Property Management with the properties in our portfolio by looking at our lease agreements. Beginning in 2004 and 2005, we began including a standard no smoking clause in our leases. So, we knew that the units with tenants who signed leases after that were nonsmoking units. Any leases signed before 2004/2005 did not specifically state smoking was not allowed, so by default they were considered smoking optional units.
We sent letters to all the tenants in the smoking optional properties and asked them if they wanted to become nonsmoking units. A lot of tenants did elect to declare their units nonsmoking. That left us with a group of units that we knew might contain smokers.
Before we sign a new lease agreement with tenants and even when we advertise, we always disclose which units in a building may contain smokers. If you aren’t doing that for your own building in San Francisco, you need to start. If a tenant moves into one of your unit and gets a lot of cigarette smoke coming into the apartment, you can guess who will have to pay for that tenant’s moving expenses. Don’t put yourself at risk for the hassle and the expense. Instead, comply with this new ordinance and get a procedure in place to ensure you always know which units in your building are likely to have smokers.
If you have any questions on this topic, or you need help getting your buildings into compliance with the Tobacco Smoke Disclosure Ordinance, please contact us at Gordon Property Management, and we would be more than happy to assist you.