The Gateway Apartments and Townhomes require all new tenants to sign a nonsmoking lease, according to Clarisse Tan, the Gateway’s director of property management.
“We’re trying to go completely smoke-free,” she said, but with 1,254 rent-stabilized units where people often stay put for decades, it might take a while.
Existing residents are grandfathered in and can smoke in their units as well as on balconies.
However, Tan wrote in an email, “We will still monitor areas/units that allow for cigarette smoke to escape out into the common areas/hallways/corridors of the buildings. The existing residents still need be mindful of their neighbors and ensure that their smoking is not creating nuisance. The items on the new lease will not apply to them, unfortunately.”
But, all residents of a particular floor can declare their floor a “nonsmoking area” if all residents on that floor sign a petition. There are a couple of floors in the complex where that’s in effect, Tan said.
More and more building owners are offering nonsmoking leases in order to lower insurance costs and reduce risk of fire damage, said Janine Young, senior health inspector for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Senate Bill 332, passed in 2011, allows landlords to prohibit smoking in rental units.
But it’s not an ordinance or law that landlords must offer nonsmoking leases.
“In San Francisco, we have not passed a smoke-free building law,” Young said, adding that landlords can deem their buildings smoke-free if they wish.
Landlords of rent stabilized buildings, such as the Gateway, however, cannot ask existing tenants to sign a new nonsmoking lease.
Young did say there is a “disclosure law” (19M) that requires landlords to disclose to prospective tenants where smoking is prohibited, including individual units, among other things. However, there is no enforcement built into the law, so it’s entirely voluntary at this point.
“It’s a first step,” Young said.
More information on smoking laws and ordinances: