Apartment Rental Companies Complaint - If you smoke, read this

Review by sgvmikela on 2007-09-05
ALTADENA, CALIFORNIA -- I live in California and noticed that the California Assembly is trying to pass a law that disallows landlords and prospective tenants to inquire about their citizenship or immigration status...

I rented an apartment in Altadena, California and decided that I wouldn't smoke inside my apartment. So I smoked outside on my private, fenced in patio.

The manager confronted me and told me that this was a non-smoking complex and if I was to continue to smoke in my patio, he would have to evict me, and if I wanted to smoke, I would have to go to the curb and basically smoke ON THE SIDEWALK in front of my own apartment.

People are so concerned that management companies, property managers and rental managers are checking to see if people are illegal or not, but they have the right to tell me, on the apartment I pay for, that I cannot smoke outside on my own patio?

This has become common practice, and I have noticed that it is coming up on rental applications.

Is it lawful for this type of discrimination?
Comments:61 Replies - Latest reply on 2007-09-18
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Have you considered smoking lettuce? One goof on here claims it helped him stop smoking - though it make make you unpopular at the salad bar! LOL
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
PWP,would that be iceburg lettuce,or hippie lettuce?
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Read your lease agreement to see what it says about smoking. BTW the county I live in a few years ago almost passed a resolution allowing a neighbor to press charges for second-hand smoke entering their property. It was laughed down because there was no provision for stopping smoke from grills or restaurants from entering another's property.
Posted by Dan on 2007-09-05:
sgvmikela-if you think that is bad, it could get a lot worse for you. I read about a few cities, one in MI I believe, I'll look for the story and see if I can find a link, that are proposing a ban on smoking inside of any property that shares a common wall, meaning all apartments, townhouses and condos that share at least one wall with another occupant. I haven't smoked in over ten years, but think that these regulations are getting out of hand, if smoking is so bad for society why isn't it illegal? And if it's not illegal, why shouldn't people be allowed to do it in their own homes?
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
The Michigan ban was on restaurants, bars and other 'public' places. Private property was not included.
Posted by Crown Jules on 2007-09-05:
If you owned the apartment, you could smoke to your heart's content. However, you don't own it, you simply lease it (I presume) which means to pay to live there as long as you agree to abide by the rules set forth by the management company.

The management company for my complex is instituting a no smoking policy in all apartments and common areas for tenants and their guests starting next January. Everybody had to sign a lease addendum agreeing to the new rule or find a new place to live. I'm not a smoker myself so I don't know if they allowed smoking tenants to break their leases or not for this new policy.

Ironically, where I live now I haven't had any problems with smoking neighbors but a couple of years ago I was in a place where the people downstairs smoked like chimneys and I couldn't enjoy my deck or even open the sliding glass door without their cigarette smoke coming into my home.
Posted by ThinLazyAmerican on 2007-09-05:
Do yourself a favor and quit.

What self control do you have if you let a drug control you?

Stop wasting your money, stop ruining your health, Stop smoking now!

You cannot smoke in your coffin, so who are you going to complain to?
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
If you lease the apartment it is considered yours and as long as you pay rent and don't vandalize it you can do what you want.

What are my rights as a tenant?
· A safe and sanitary home. You have the right to call a health or housing inspector if you think there is a code violation in the property you are renting.
· Privacy, peace, and quiet. A landlord can enter the premises at reasonable times for repairs and inspections, but should notify you first. You have the right to tell a landlord what time is reasonable for you.
· Written receipts for rent or deposits.
· Notice of changes in lease terms. You are entitled to fifteen days notice of any change in your rental agreement.
· Repairs made within a reasonable amount of time after you request them in writing.
· Remain in residence until proper procedure is taken. You have the right to remain in the property you rent until you are legally evicted by a court order. Landlords do not have the right to lock you out of the property.
What are my responsibilities as a tenant?
· Pay your rent on time. As a tenant, you are responsible to pay your full rent on time.
· Take care of property. You must take reasonable care of the property you are renting. When you move, the property must be left in the same condition that your received it, less normal wear and tear.
· Notify the landlord when you are going to be away. Let your landlord know when you are going to be out of town or away from home for an extended period of time.
· Inform your landlord of needed repairs, in writing.
· Keep noise levels down. Be considerate of other renters and neighbors by keeping the noise level down in your home.
· Abide by the lease agreement. Read and discuss your lease with the landlord before you sign it, because you must abide by all its provisions.
· Give notice before moving. Unless otherwise specified in your lease, give 15 days written notice before moving.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
I used to own some rent houses. I never asked if prospective tenants smoked but I looked for the tell-tell signs. If I thought they smoked AND the rental market was healthy then I would pass on those I suspected of smoking. Smoking damages the property.

sgvmikela while I sympathise with your complaint I also feel property owners have a right to deny renting to smokers if they so choose. Good review. I voted your contribution 'Very Helpful'.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
So you do discriminate then, right Stew.
Posted by Slimjim on 2007-09-05:
How does a property management company not disclose to future tenets six ways to Sunday that it has adopted a no smoking policy? I would check your lease and tell them to shove it if there is no written mention. Then sue their arses if they try to evict you.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
sgvmikela, you pose a good question, "Is it lawful for this type of discrimination?"

I believe it is really about control that is something all people want. They want things to be the way they think and you as an individual really don’t matter.
Read this down below and you can read the rest at: http://www.workrights.org/issue_lifestyle/ld_legislative_brief.html
“Americans have long accepted that employers have a certain degree of control over what we do while at the workplace. But increasing numbers of employers are dangerously broadening the sphere of their control to include what employees do in their own homes. Many employers now refuse to hire people whose private lives are deemed "unhealthy". A few even fire current employees who don't change their lifestyle to meet new company demands. The most common victims of this type of discrimination are smokers and fat people.3 According to a 1988 survey taken by the Administrative Management Society, 6% of all employers (about 6,000 companies) now discriminate against off-duty smokers. The number has almost certainly increased since then. It is more difficult to estimate the number of companies which discriminate against fat people, since this is seldom an official corporate policy. However, anecdotal evidence collected by the National Association for Advancement of Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) suggests that discrimination against fat people is even more common. Other employers refuse to hire people who drink alcohol, have high cholesterol levels, or ride motorcycles.
The driving force behind this trend is economics. Health care costs for employers are increasing by at least 15% per year,4 almost 3 times as fast as inflation. Although several factors contribute to these rising costs, the only factor employers have control over is their employees. With such an incentive, employers may well try to dominate every health related aspect of their employees' lives, including diet, exercise and sleep habits < and without protective legislation they will succeed.
The early Americans adopted the Bill of Rights to limit the government's involvement in their lives and modern Americans demonstrate the same unwillingness to tolerate intrusion whether by government or by employer. According to a 1990 poll by the National Consumers League,5 81% of Americans believe that an employer has no right to refuse to hire an overweight person. 76% believe employers have no right to refuse to hire a smoker. 73% believe employers have no right to require an employee or applicant to change their diet.”
Posted by Dan on 2007-09-05:
PassingBy-I know about the ban in restaurants and public places, the article I was referring to was specifically targeting apartments and condos. I can't find the link yet to the exact article, but I did find a link to this proposed bill in the state of Connecticut. It calls for the banning of smoking inside condos.


and here's one where Belmont City council banned it in CA


Note in CA it applies to condos and townhouses, which many times are not rented but owned. Only the outdoor areas of condos/townhouses are owned by the properties. I don't see how they can ban me from doing a perfectly legal activity in the privacy of my purchased home?
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Under the Constitution, who has the sovereign authority to govern?

The founders said it is in the people "by God's own allowance." No branch or agency of the government should be allowed to operate in violation of the expressed will of the people. Their collective will is set forth in the Constitution and the laws passed by the people's representatives.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
slim I would say it doesn't need to be stated in the lease. All leases call for some sort of reasonable care by the tenant. I contend that smoking in the unit or on the property isn't reasonable care and also poses a fire hazard as well as a health hazard to other tenants. A lease doesn't have to enumerate every possible prohibited hazardous behavior. Smoking is not a constitutional right nor is it protected by any court decision or law that I know of therefore a landlord is well within their rights to ban it at anytime regardless whether it's stated in a lease or not.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Smokers should be charged an extra fee as pet owners are.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
I would disagree with your reasoning Stew and say it is based on a biased opinion.

The rules for all 50 states say:
"You must take reasonable care of the property you are renting. When you move, the property must be left in the same condition that your received it, less normal wear and tear."

If we go by what you said then anything would be unreasonable and tenants would have no rights and remember the key term here is, "less normal wear and tear" So by your definition that would be at the discretion of the landlord and that would mean we live in a socialistic society.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Stewart, that is just plain STEWPIDITY on your part!! Slim makes some valid points. If someone's "BO" is a nuisiance can they be evicted without a written notice? I am sure that you can speak from experience on that matter.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Why should they be charged an extra fee? When you leave a place the first thing done is it is painted at the landlords cost and the carpets cleaned at the landlords cost. This is part of normal wear and tear and you cannot charge a tenant for that.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Lidman - First of all socialism refers to the Government not private property owners. Secondly, smoking doesn't constitute normal wear and tear. Third, smoking poses an undue fire and health hazard.

I've rented to smokers before. The property reeks and the walls get nicotine stains. That is by no stretch of the imagination normal wear and tear. Also, a basic freedom is a person's right over their property and the freedom to take care of that property as the property owner sees fit.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Lid, as usual Stew is making the most sense and I have to agree with him.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
zzrokk - I'm not flaming anybody. I'm trying to carry on a rational discussion why must you *ALWAYS* turn every discourse into an opportunity to flame.

So back to the topic...How's it 'STEWPIDITY'? Why shouldn't the property owner have the right to ban unhealthy, unsanitary, and destructive practices on *THEIR* property? People choose to smoke, people choose to bathe but people for the most part don't choose their body odor. There is a difference between behavior and bodily functions don't you think?
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
socialism: system of social organization in which property and the distribution of income are subject to social control rather than individual determination or market forces.

Come on man!
I'll be back!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Smokers don't deserve the rights of health conscious people.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Lidman, I'm advocating that an individual influenced by the market decide the behaviors allowed on their OWN property. Please tell me how that is socialism?
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Stew; by what you are saying then cooking would be damage, burning candles would be damage and so on. While I do agree smoking stinks it no worst then in-scents and surly les a fire hazard then candles.

Normal wear and tear. Even the most conscientious tenant will cause some minor damage over the course of a rental agreement. This minimal damage is typically referred to as "normal wear and tear." This can include small scratches on the walls or paint, worn or slightly stained carpeting, broken hinges, or other insignificant damage.

While you may not appreciate having to repaint your property after each tenant moves out, normal wear and tear usually makes this necessary. And a few scuffs on the wall or the odd nail hole does not constitute damage, and you will not be able to charge your tenants for this paint job if that is the extent of the damage.

Damage. Actual damage to a property goes beyond normal wear and tear. For example, instead of small scuffs on the walls or a few nail holes, large holes in the wall would definitely be considered damage.

If the carpet is completely stained, ripped, or otherwise ruined, this can be construed as damage. Pet stains can also be referred to as an actual damage, particularly if you do not allow pets on your rental property. In this case, since you have not received a pet deposit to cover this damage, the security deposit can be used to repair the damage and restore the property to its original condition.

Posted by jktshff1 on 2007-09-05:
I smoke....a lot....OK, if a property, business owner does not want you smoking there..his property...his right....that being said, contrary to all the government interference....if a bar allows smoking and you don't like it don't go there...it is the owner's property and he had the RIGHT to let you do it.
People, when are you going to wake up and realize that the government is trying to run your lives?????
Our founding fathers realized what we have forgotten
More government=less freedom
Less government=more freedom
God help my grandkids, you can call it what you wish, politically correct, communism, socialism whatever.
Khrushchev said in the early 60's to leave the US alone and they would ruin themselves.
Folks, we are getting close.
Sorry for the rant
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Stew; I own a few rental houses and I do not dictate how people can live because if I did I would be no better than a dictator. If they smoke then I consider it some I will have to take care of when they move out, that is part of the price of doing business and being a free human, treating others as I do myself.

If an individual starts dictating every thing to another you breed hate and discontent and that is bad for business.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
I think they(cigs) should be eliminated from our lives. . . . . along with onions,and mayonaise.

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
I've been a nonsmoker, a smoker, a nonsmoker, a smoker, and currently a nonsmoker.

Just suck it up and smoke on the sidewalk, dude, if that's what you have to do.

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
I too own some rental property, and believe me, I enforce a definite NO SMOKING policy.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
I little roped off area by the curb,and trashcans.(Smoking Section)
"No nonsmoking allowed in this area"

The World has become a little too PC in the last 15-20 years or so.Laws change,new Laws are made,and unfortunately we have to deal with it.We have to do what we are told.


Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
jkt, good points as always I do however believe when a person rents one of my houses even know it is still mind I have NO right to tell these people how they must live.

And Steve just made my point for me if I don't like it get rid of it and while we are at it kill the onions, and mayonnaise as well. It doesn't stop!

Intolerance breeds intolerance.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
It doesn't stop.Theres always going to be something else that pisses the right people off,and then BAM! no more good times
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
I was a smoker too EMT.

I'm not one of those holier than thou type non-smokers either(although my previous posts were a little harsh)
For me it was either,not breath(allergies kill me in the Spring)at night,or quit smoking.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
You got it Steve!

Pirate, I used to take care of property where the landlord lorded over his tenants like you imply and more than once I saw many people mess up property and cost the guy a lot of money. So you say "I will sue them!" he did and just like I told him, now you have to collect even know you paid me, you paid the lawyer and he was out a lot of money, he never got a dime. Try it some time sport.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Steve, I was a smoker for 35 years and I don't like it either anymore but I will not become one of those judgmental hypocrites that are non smokers. And smoking does stink but a lot of these non smokers stink even worst.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
35 years.What was "your brand"
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Lidman, I only rent to responsible non-smokers - try THAT some time "sport"
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
What are you smoking ?
Posted by Nohandle on 2007-09-05:
Hold it folks if you will and keep the hatefulness out of this. Why don't we for a change try a rational discussion without making it personal? In my opinion a property owner should decide who he rents to, not the government. Funny how times have changed. At one time if an indididual had rental property he decided if he wanted to rent to individuals with children, pets, the elderly, and on and on. Let me if I'm a property owner decide if I want a smoker vs/a ditzy individual who leaves a pot unattended on the stove; parents with obnoxious children; individuals whose likestyle I might not agree with. The government put a stop to that. It was called discrimination and was not allowed.

I think sgymikela's original complaint was that the CA assembly was attempting to pass a law disallowing landlords to inquire about citizenship, but could decide if they wanted to allow smoking or not. Yep, it's discrimination on the part of GOVERNMENT.
Posted by D. on 2007-09-05:
My lease states there is NO smoking in the building, including the enterance way. They did allow smoking outside and in the picnic area...mostly due to being fire hazard (they shouldn't allow burning candles, in my opinion which can be a bigger fire hazard with little kids running around or those evil cats)...But now, since Ohio has passed the non-smoking law...which is still not clear whether it's actually a law yet or not...management does not even allow smoking in the parking lots or picnic areas. I'm a non-smoker and I don't see the big harm if people smoked outside...I can understand inside. There is a bar/nightclub here in Ohio that allows their customers to smoke outside on a patio or deck area...and the neighbors are complaining about that too. They said since they are smoking outside, they can not sleep at night, but not because of the smoking but the loud talking and carrying on outside their windows. My thought...a bar is going to be noisey at night...you choose to move there...live with it.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Yup, Steve, I hear ya'. I've seen way too many emphysema, lung cancer, and, PD'rs (COPD) as patients, I am NEVER doing that again.

I also completely agree with you, Nohandle. I've lived on a rental property that barred pets. My BF(now my husband), brought home a puppy for my daughter. We knew there were consequenses(sp), and, we paid a fine. I didn't care. BUT, the point is, it was NOT government controlled.

It was the owners call. I respect that.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Nohandle, DB good points and that is what I am talking about in the end it is always about CONTROL by opinion and it’s never enough. My good friend Pirate makes that quite clear by his somewhat silly statement: "I only rent to responsible non-smokers" there is no way to differentiate between a responsible non-smoker and a responsible smoker, I think we have all seen it both ways. All the time we spend trying to have our opinion be the one that supersedes all others the government is blindsiding the he11 out of all of us.
Posted by moneybags on 2007-09-05:
As a former property manager (now a realtor) I can attest to the damage that smoking does to carpets, paint, drapes and your own health. There were many times that a nonsmoker did no damage/dirt/wear and tear to those items and we could easily turn the apartment. However, many smoker's units had to be recarpeted and have ionization units used for about 2 weeks to kill the smoke smell. That's two weeks of lost rent unless we were lucky enough to have an industial deodorizer kill the smell.

As for screening applicants, I once worked for an owner who would not rent to you unless you owned a vacuum cleaner. He thought by owning one, you would vacuum the carpet. Boy, was he wrong.

And Lidman, most states/leases require a minimum of 30 days advance written notice to vacate at the END of the lease. Some require 60 to 90 days and leases can specify during which months you cannot move out. (Like snow and ice months.) Don't quote 15 days; you'll cost people a lot of money!

Stew, you made a lot of sense. Thanks
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Moneybags, I never quoted 15 days to vacate but I did C&P a list of rights to renters and landlords that are valid in all 50 states one of them was this one that you must have misread.

“Notice of changes in lease terms. You are entitled to fifteen days notice of any change in your rental agreement.”

Also I have been the one who had to go in and clean the carpet and paint/fix the houses/apartments you are talking about and all I can tell you is you got ripped off.

The whole point here is how many rights are we going to STEAL from other people because we think something else (our opinion) is right?

And pray tell, where did Stew make sense?
Posted by Nohandle on 2007-09-05:
Moneybags, enjoyed you input. I understand your mentioning the extra cleanup behind smokers and found the vacuum reference entertaining. Did you, when a property manager, ever experience any extra damage done by renters with children or pets or was it only the smokers?
Posted by D on 2007-09-05:
Passing by.... smoking is permitted in bars and restaurants and casinos in Michigan. as long as there is a non- smoking area is designated it is still legal. Its getting harder to find places to smoke but they are still available for us nicotine addicts.
Posted by GothicSmurf on 2007-09-05:
I smoke as well, but don't smoke in my apartment. The people on the 3rd floor smoke too and it drives me nuts they think nothing of smoking in the common areas.

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Very good discussion. It makes me swell with pride when the membership can intelligently discuss a topic.

Nohandle, (B)asher, moneybags, gothicsmurf - good points.

Lidman, You'd argue with a stop sign.

jktshff1... I agree with everything you said. Private property owners and NOT the government should determine if people can smoke or not smoke on their property. I absolutely despise all the smoking bans the government has placed on the private businesses and owners. It's lazy populace that let's the government do it's dirty work. If non-smokers refused to do business with establishments that allowed smoking than the free market would have flushed this one out without us again letting the Gov grow even more powerful.
Posted by D. on 2007-09-05:
Why Stew...I do believe you're trying to kiss and make up!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-05:
Not with me, he ain't!

Oh, yeah, forgot to mention that I'm with Liddy on this.

Posted by Starlord on 2007-09-06:
As a former smoker, I can see both sides of the argument. I sit here now as a member of the hose in the nose club. Arizona had a big battle a while back and had two bills concerning smoking in public places. One bill allowed bars the option of allowing smoking, while the other banned smoking in all public places. The campaign carried the day for the total ban, because of the "protect the children," argument. Interesting, as children are not allowed in bars in Arizona to begin with. Mesa was the first with a total ban, and now are even becoming even more draconian. They are proposing a law forbidding smoking anywhere that is adjoining public property. Think about this for a second. The city of Mesa wants to be able to cite you for smoking in your own yard or on your patio, because your property adjoins the city streets, which is public property. Any time a politician says the code words, "Save (or protect) the children," they are about to deprive you of your right to enjoy some legal activity for the benefit, supposedly, of some hypothetical children, like the ones who hang around in bars in Arizona.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-06:
Stew, you say "Lidman, You'd argue with a stop sign" and you are right I would and do when I believe in something. You on the other hand believe in Stew and that’s all, so other than that you really have on argument or point you have a "self Interest, stew."
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-06:
Everybody has some good point and opinions here but the bottom line is:

1. Government has no right to dictate to the people what they can do in their own home or business.

2. The property owner has a right to limit what can be done with his property when he is the sole owner. If he is renting property out then he/she give up a cretin amount of those same right's when they infringe on the rights of the renter.

3. Since we seem to be stuck on smokers rights verses non-smokers rights. The bottom line is it was farce brought on by a few and not the majority. That’s when the government stepped in and started making money along with the lawyers while blindsiding the American people with a bunch of false data that only goes to show the real ignorance of the general public by its willingness to be swindled by politics.

In bigger cities one lives in an apartment and wakes up in the morning in a smoke free building yet it smells like a gas station, fact. A jogger or bicyclist get out and jogs or rides along the highway and sucks in more deadly smoke from car then all the cigarettes in the entire USA, by like the rest of the people he/she has also been duped by opinions and intolerance.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-06:
This may not be wrong in principle, but such programs should be based on sound actuarial data. The company should be able to demonstrate that the behavior in question increases employer health care costs by a measurable amount. While such relationships may exist, the data currently available does not demonstrate it clearly. For example, the Bureau of National Affairs reports that 95% of companies banning smoking reported no financial savings,6 and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has found no connection between smoking and absenteeism.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-06:
Which companies practice lifestyle discrimination?

There is no comprehensive list of companies which practice lifestyle discrimination. A few examples of employers who discriminate include:

Cardinal Industries refuses to hire smokers stating it "only hires nonsmokers and gives every applicant a urine test and promises to fire those who say they have quit, but don't."
U-Haul International charges its smoking employees an extra $130 per year for health insurance.
Pointe Resorts, which operates 3 hotels in Phoenix, pays 40% more of the insurance costs of employees with a normal weight than of those who are overweight.
In 1990, the city government of Athens, Georgia initiated a health screening for prospective city workers. Applicants whose cholesterol level was in the worst 25% of national ranges were simply ineligible for any position.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2007-09-07:
good posts lidman
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-07:
Thank you, jktshff1 and good morning!
Posted by leopard on 2007-09-18:
guess it's time to get nicoderm cq.

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