With the legalization of marijuana on the horizon for Canadians, there’s plenty of reason for some to feel apprehensive about the changes that will follow the coming legislation. Many Canadian landlords have expressed concern about the possibility of future tenants growing marijuana within their homes or units, and how landlords are expected to deal with this – bringing with it a number of potential complications.
Ontario’s marijuana legislation
With Ontario’s Cannabis Act taking effect on July 1, 2018, the legalization of marijuana across the province is coming up quick. The rules prohibit anybody under the age of 19 from buying recreational pot, limit purchasing of marijuana to exclusive retail stores and online distributors, and will restrict the use of pot to private residence only. Special restrictions have been placed on marijuana use in vehicles, public spaces, and workplaces in order to keep roads safe and protect Ontario’s youth.
Federal marijuana legislation will allow Canadians to possess and share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis, purchase pot legally from provincially-licensed retailers, grow up to four marijuana plants with a maximum height of 100cm for personal use only from licensed seeds and seedlings, and to make food and drink products containing cannabis at home.
What do Ontario landlords need to know about pot legislation?
One of the biggest concerns being expressed by Ontario landlords is the ability (or lack thereof) to control marijuana use and the growing of plants within their units. While medical marijuana will be allowed anywhere that cigarette smoking is legal, recreational pot will only be allowed in private residences, complicating the matter for landlords who don’t allow smoking on their rental premises. While landlords will be allowed to ban smoking of all kinds in their units with new leases, it is illegal to make changes to existing leases – leaving plenty of room for tenants to smoke and grow pot in their units.
Many Toronto landlords are concerned about the effects of cannabis smell on their other tenants – much like cigarette smoke, it can be very costly to remove the smell of pot smoke from rental units. The growing of cannabis plants can also damage units through the trademark strong smell, humidity levels, and increased electricity usage. While there are rules on the recreational growing of marijuana plants to tackle these concerns, many Ontario landlords are concerned about the enforcement of such restrictions.
What can Ontario landlords do about marijuana?
For landlords who are concerned about the smoking and growing of cannabis in their rental units, there are some recommended precautions you can take. It’s recommended that landlords restrict hydroponics or hydroponic equipment in future leases, screen tenants to ensure that you will not be renting to people who are likely to start a grow-op in their unit, and seek out tenants who will adhere to the four plant limit and smoke outside. With screening comes complications, as many landlords will not have the time or knowledge needed to select ideal tenants to rent to – this is where property management services come in.
The important role of property management
For landlords who are concerned about how the new Cannabis Act might negatively affect their rental units or tenants, property management companies like Highgate Properties are here to help. Only property management companies have the knowledge and experience necessary to effectively screen tenants, enforce rules and regulations found in leases, and take care of any marijuana-related issues that stem from the new legislation. In the end, it’s all about screening tenants properly and ensuring that leases are clearly written – something Highgate has extensive experience with.