Well that day has finally come and cannabis is now legal here in Ontario. It is important that as a landlord that you fully understand the laws and what implications this could have on you. Here are a few points you’ll need to know:
- Is now legal for adults 19+ years of age to have up to 30 grams (one ounce) of marijuana in their possesion, which is about 40-70 joints (depending on whose rolling them).
- It’s also now legal to grow up to 4 pot plants per residence. For example, this means you can grow 4 plants in a single family home, or every condo in a building can grow 4 plants, each apartment in triplex can grow 4 plants and so on. Just in case you’re wondering, each plant grown indoors can give you 1/4 pound of pot, if grown outdoors possibly a pound.
- Cannabis is currently being sold online through licensed retail dispensaries.
- The “edibles” (i.e gummies) will not be legal to possess or consume until fall 2019.
- Condo boards are currently trying to figure out how to deal with the new legalization. Many are going smoke-free (both tobacco and marijuana). Don’t worry those that are currently allowing for smoking will be grandfathered in. If you own a condo talk to the property manager to understand what they are doing, and how that impacts you and your Tenant(s).
Tips for Ontario Landlords
Include a no-smoking rule in the lease. Section 10 of Ontario’s standard Residential Tenancy Agreement allows you to specify smoking rules. If the Tenant agrees and signs in writing to not smoke in the unit, you MAY have grounds to evict them.
Include a ‘no grow’ rule in the lease that specifically states the Tenant is prohibited from growing marijuana in the unit.
Condos: If you are renting out a condo be sure to give your Tenants a copy of the condos rules and bylaws. Tenants must abide by these rules.
Hydro: Who pays the hydro bill? If your Tenants decides to grow plants this is going to affect the bill. The amount of hydro it takes to make a pound of product using standard growing practises is about the same as a what a normal household uses in two months. Luckily, there are some new home grow kits and hydroponic options out there to help minimize smells and optimize energy.
Pot Smells: If you think the smell of cigarettes is bad, wait until you are faced with the smell of weed too. Be prepared for bigger cleaning bills. You may need to repaint and replace carpets depending on how much they smoked. Refer to section 13 of Residential Tenancy Agreement as it states “the tenant must repair or pay for any undue damage to the renal unit caused by willful or negligent conduct of the tenant…”
Protect yourself: There are some clauses that your Realtor can include in an agreement to help protect you and your property.
Spot Checks! It is in your best interest to schedule regular inspections of your property, as long as you give your Tenants the required 24 hour notice. Let your Tenants know that this is standard practise for you when they are signing the lease so they know to expect them.
Is your property a grow op? With the new rule that allows Ontario residence to grow up to 4 pot plants, if you have a triplex this means that technically your property is growing 12 plants. Be sure to speak with your Realtor and lawyer prior to selling about how to disclose the pot-growing activity that has taken place.