OAKLEY -- Apartment dwellers here will have to find other places in their complexes to smoke.

In response to repeated complaints from some renters about exposure to secondhand smoke, the City Council on Tuesday adopted a no-smoking ordinance that requires landlords to make at least some units off-limits to smokers and calls for all apartment complexes built in the future to be entirely smoke-free.

The ordinance passed with a 3-0 vote, with two council members out sick.

The rules apply not only to tobacco use but also to medicinal marijuana and vapors from electronic cigarettes.

"Definitely e-cigarettes should not be able to be smoked (in apartment buildings)," said Oakley resident Wendy Escamilla, adding that she would like to see the city change its municipal code to ban all smoking in public.

The ordinance, which governs apartment buildings with two or more units, also stipulates that once an apartment is designated nonsmoking it must remain that way.

Additional restrictions ban smoking in common areas such as lobbies, laundry rooms and stairwells. Balconies, patios, porches, decks and carports are also off-limits, although up to 25 percent of an outdoor common area may be set aside for smokers if the perimeter is clearly delineated.

Other rules included in the new policy:

  • Apartment managers must give tenants a floor plan showing the location of the smoking and nonsmoking units.

  • They also must provide tenants with an explanation of how they handle smoking complaints, if such a policy exists.


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  • New leases and those being renewed must include the warning that violating no-smoking rules might result in eviction.

    The ordinance does not allow owners or on-site managers of an apartment building to turn a blind eye to scofflaws, either; the city will treat their noncompliance as a public nuisance.

    Residents can do something about a landlord's inaction too, said the city's special counsel Bill Galstan.

    They can contact Oakley's code enforcement department, which would send the business or individual a warning letter, he said.

    If the problem persists, Galstan said the city could issue citations that start at $100 and go up to $500.

    Tenants also can go after an uncooperative landlord for damages in small claims court, he added.

    Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.