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Pot Legalization and Rental Housing: What’s a landlord to do?

Pot becomes legal on October 17, 2018. It will be available to order online and people are free to grow up to four plants per residence. What does that mean for landlords? When our legislators decided to make cannabis legal they failed to make any rules or regulations about its use in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. There are a lot of questions and not enough answers.

In practice, this likely means that we can extrapolate some information about what we can and can’t do to stop tenants from smoking in their units, but there remains a giant grey area where future case law or regulations will have to step in. Many large corporate landlords appear to be telling their tenants that they are not allowed to smoke or grow cannabis in their units.

It is clear that for landlords the concern is the impact of the smoke or growing, harvesting and processing the plants can do to their units. However, it remains unclear what the insurance industry is going to do in regards to residential rental property coverage in connection to these concerns. Finally, in multi-unit properties smoking may result in friction between tenants which the landlord will be responsible for addressing.

Over time case law will develop to address these, and other issues, connected to the legalization of cannabis. Legislators may also add or tweak existing laws to address the gaps created.

In the meantime, we recommend that as landlords you draw up rules around the use of marijuana in your units and let the tenants know what they are. For landlords whose leases already covered smoking, there may be a natural entry point to discussing it with their tenants. Prosperity Property Management Inc also recommends that you adhere to at least two yearly inspections of the property in order to find out more quickly about issues in your units and take ameliorative action.


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