Legalized Marijuana & Ontario Landlords

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After much anticipation and controversy, a decision has been made to legalize marijuana in Canada in the near future. While some people are welcoming this change, others are wary of the impacts it may have. This concern is particularly felt in the property management field.

Many landlords are worried about the adverse effects this legislation may have on condo laws and rental units. Not only are landlords worried about their tenants smoking marijuana more frequently and openly, they are also worried about the possibility of tenants growing it in their homes.

To navigate these changes, it is important to truly understand them.

Legalized Marijuana Quick Facts:

  • The Ontario Cannabis Act will take full effect on July 1, 2018.

  • Like alcohol, the market will be highly regulated and only those over 19 years of age will be legally allowed to purchase marijuana.

  • The use of recreational marijuana will be restricted and its use will be prohibited in vehicles, public spaces and workplaces.

  • Legislation will limit possessors to no more than 30 grams at a time that can only be purchased at provincially-licensed retailers.

  • Up to four marijuana plants can be grown for personal use.

  • According to MacLean’s Magazine, the majority of Canadians support the legalization of marijuana.

Landlords Voice Legitimate Concerns

Many landlords are worried about the lack of control and potential conflict that the use and growth of marijuana will inevitably bring. Concerns include:

  • Marijuana smoke, much like cigarette smoke may bother tenants who are not interested in using marijuana.

  • The smell of marijuana smoke can be difficult and expensive to remove from a unit.

  • Growing marijuana may increase utility bills such as electricity – this is particularly problematic for arrangements where utility costs are included in the monthly rental fee.

  • Increased risk of fire due to misuse.

What Can Landlords and Property Managers Do?

While all of the aforementioned concerns are legitimate, there are effective measures that can be taken to mitigate the negative impacts of this new legislation:

  • Landlords are unable to change the conditions agreed upon in an existing lease, however you have the freedom to change it for new leases.

  • When drafting new leases in accordance with the Cannabis Act, landlords should consider including stipulations about smoking and the use of hydroponic equipment.

  • Landlords may want to change their screening process.

  • Even if landlords are unable to change current leases to make them legally binding, they can still post recommendations for how they hope tenants will ideally respond to the new legislation (ie: Circulate a memo that requests tenants exercise consideration when their smoking may bother others).

At CEPM, we’re here to help you navigate the legalities surrounding your property investment. If you are interested in learning more about how the new Cannabis Act in Ontario in relation to property management and condo laws, contact us or call (855) 839-3082 for a FREE consultation.