On July 23, 2019, the Millbrae City Council adopted an ordinance banning smoking in or around multi-unit residential housing.
Numerous citizens and organizations have expressed concerns and made complaints associated with the harm caused by second-hand smoke. Health hazards related to smoking and breathing second-hand smoke can include certain cancers and adverse respiratory effects, and worsen the quality of life for citizens with existing allergies and respiratory diseases. Studies have shown that tobacco and other products creating inhaled smoke or vapor are major contributors to air pollution and detrimental to the health, welfare and comfort of non-smokers, the elderly, children, and individuals with cardiovascular disease or impaired respiratory function.
The new law states that smoking is prohibited inside, or within 40 feet, of any multi-unit residence, and any enclosed or unenclosed multi-unit residence common area.
A. Smoking is prohibited inside any unit within a Multi-Unit Residence.
B. Smoking is prohibited within any enclosed or unenclosed Multi-Unit Residence Common Area.
C. Smoking is prohibited within a 40 foot radius in any direction of any Multi-Unit Residence Common Area or of any Multi-Unit Residence.
D. Smoking is prohibited within any Service Area within a 40 foot radius in any direction of a Multi-Unit Residence and/or Multi-Unit Residence Common Area.
E. All new residential leases in Multi-Unit Residences where smoking is prohibited must include a notice informing the tenant that (i) smoking is prohibited in the unit, in the Multi-Unit Residence Common Areas and within 40 feet of the Multi-Unit Residence and Multi-Unit Residence Common Areas, and (ii) violation of the prohibition on smoking is a material breach of the lease.
To report a violation of these ordinances or for information about the health impacts of smoking, please contact the City of Millbrae’s Code Enforcement Hotline at (650) 259-2440, or by visiting the Community Development Department’s service desk in City Hall (621 Magnolia Ave.).
Who does this impact?
This impacts any owner, operator, resident, and visitor, of a multi-unit residence and multi-unit residence common area.
A "Multi-Unit Residence" means residential property containing two or more units, with one or more shared wall, floor, ceiling or ventilation system, including apartments, condominiums, duplexes or town homes and their patios and balconies.
A "Multi-Unit Residence Common Area" means any indoor or outdoor area of a Multi-Unit Residence accessible to and usable by residents of different units, including halls and paths, lobbies, laundry rooms, common cooking areas, outdoor eating areas, play areas, shared patios, shared balconies, shared restrooms, elevators and stairwells, swimming pools, carports, garages and parking areas.
Can I smoke in my apartment?
No, starting January 1, 2020 smoking in multi-family units is prohibited in the City of Millbrae. Smoking is also prohibited in any multi-unit residence common area, as well as 40 feet from any multi-unit residence or common area.
Can I smoke in my duplex or triplex?
Smoking is allowed in duplexes and triplexes only if one of the units is owner occupied. In all cases where a housing unit is rented or leased, property owners can prohibit smoking on the property and in housing units.
Does this impact single family residences?
This law does not impact the residents of single family homes unless they are within 40 feet of a multi-family residence. The law does apply to single-family residences if they are within 40 feet of a multi-family residence.
If I live in a single-family residence, can I smoke in my backyard?
Yes, but only if you live more than 40 feet away from a multi-family residence.
What is the penalty for violating the City’s smoking ordinance?
Any person that violates the City’s Smoking Control Ordinance is guilty of an infraction. Fines for committing an infraction are as follows:
1. A fine not exceeding $100 (one hundred dollars) for a first violation;
2. A fine not exceeding $200 (two hundred dollars) for a second violation of the same ordinance within one year; and
3. A fine not exceeding $500 (five hundred dollars) for each additional violation of the same ordinance within one year.
What are the responsibilities of landlords and property managers?
The owner, operator, manager, or other person having control of any building, structure, facility or place where smoking is prohibited shall post clearly and conspicuously at every entrance to such building or place "No Smoking" signs with letters of not less than one inch in height or the international
"No Smoking" symbol, consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it. Notwithstanding the foregoing, this does not apply to Multi-Unit Residences with three or fewer units.