Ever since it was introduced last year, there have been a lot of questions about SB 332. And now that it will soon go into effect (on January 1, 2012) there is still much confusion and questions are still being raised. Just last week in West Hollywood there was news that the city council was worried that the state law would trump their rent control laws and permit landlords to impose new smoking restrictions on tenants, allowing them to evict long time tenants.
In fact, SB 332 does not create any new landlord rights. The law simply codifies in state law that landlords have the legal authority to prohibit smoking in the apartments that they own and manage. This was a right that landlords already had prior to this state law. The state law explicitly requires landlords to abide by local laws regarding changes to the terms of tenancy. For cities with rent control, including West Hollywood, this means that tenants who smoke cannot be forced to accept new lease terms regarding smoking.
If you have questions about the bill, the Center just released a new factsheet going through some of the details of the bill. We also released a community organizing update with some ways that you can take advantage of this new law and use it to promote your smokefree housing work.