Landlords Modify Tenant Leases in Advance of Marijuana Legalization

By 7 September 2018June 22nd, 2022No Comments

Landlords across the country are preparing for the approaching legalization of marijuana by modifying their tenant and building leases.

According to the Alberta Residential Tenancies Act, landlords have the right to decide who rents their apartments or homes in Alberta.  They are already entitled to restrict/allow pets and tobacco smoking — marijuana is no different.  By rewording the leases, Alberta landlords want to ensure that communication is clear from the beginning of their relationship with tenants.

But Alberta landlords are not the first to want the presence of marijuana on their properties restricted.  In January 2018, Ontario landlords were opting for a ban on legalization because their Residential Tenancy Act did not include any rules regarding smoking substances on their property.

Consequences for Pot Tenants

Tenants may have to do more negotiating with landlords, particularly if they use marijuana for medicinal purposes.  Landlords will be inspecting their properties more often to ensure that tenants are not breaking their contract. This is no different from their inspections for evidence of tobacco smoking and pets.

There is the possibility that landlords who allow marijuana smoking and growing on their property will charge premiums because there will be fewer living options for marijuana-smoking tenants.

“Pot”ential Issues

Many Canadian lawyers are suggesting that the courts will  view marijuana smoking no differently from tobacco smoking.  The courts will therefore apply the same types of judgments. They, as well as the rest of Canada, are waiting for the legalization to take effect and don’t currently have any further insight into the matter.

Although restricting marijuana may be determined as a breach of human rights, there are other ways to consume the drug for medicinal purposes. Tenants can switch to ingesting marijuana through food – also called edibles – or taking capsules as an alternative.

The other issues landlords face are extra expenses to maintain their property.  Marijuana, like tobacco smoke, seeps into clothing, furniture and walls. Landlords must also handle other tenants’ complaints.

Pardoning the Potters

With the October 17, 2018 marijuana legalization date fast approaching, the Trudeau government has still not said whether they will pardon anyone with a simple pot-possession criminal record post legalization. Moreover, Canadians are still waiting on how they will be able to enter the U.S., who has laws in place to refuse entry to people who have had any contact with marijuana, despite having 29 states that permit its recreational use.

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