Weed Legalization: 2 Major Challenges for Landlords
Weed is now legal or decriminalized for recreational or medical use in Canada and 18 state in the United States.
Landlords, are you ready?
Weed (also known as cannabis, pot, marijuana, reefer, grass, doobie, joint), is now legal or decriminalized for recreational use or medical use in Canada and 18 states in the United States (US). This could potentially present some challenges for landlords, rental property owners and property managers.
With this change, there are two major challenges that landlords need to consider:
- tenants smoking weed in the property; and
- tenants growing weed in the property
As landlords and property managers, we need to be proactive in addressing these concerns with our tenants. We have a responsibility to educate our tenants. This is important so that we can create awareness and set expectations with our tenants. We spend some time discussing this in my courses 8 Simple Rules for Landlords and The Secret to Happy and Long-Term Tenants.
If we don’t communicate our expectations and rules to our tenants, then we can’t expect our tenants to follow the rules. By not setting expectations with our tenants we are increasing the likelihood of conflict in our relationship with our tenants. And this can also extend to our neighbours, and to the condo association/homeowner’s association.
With the change to the law, we are likely to see an increase in the number of tenants consuming weed. And there may also be those who will grow their own. While we can’t stop our tenants from consuming and growing weed, we can educate and set expectations.
The fire of 2014
For me, personally, as a landlord I am concerned about smoking within the unit. In the summer of 2014, a massive fire ripped through a condo complex where I owned a unit. The fire was caused by an improperly disposed cigarette. It displaced nearly 400 people, including my tenants and caused over $10 million in damages. Thank God everyone made it out safely. But it took almost 2 years before all the residents could return.
Since that time, I am always weary and overcautious when it comes to smoking in the property. The expectation that I have set with my tenants is that no form of smoking, e-cigarette, cigar, pipe, hookah or marijuana can be consumed within the unit. They are however, allowed to smoke it on the balcony, deck or patio, but even then, I have rules surrounding that. If they are smoking, they cannot leave their lit joint or cigarette unattended and they must properly extinguish the butt in a glass or pot of water before disposing it in the garbage. In my rules documentation, I specify that butts or ashes must never be flushed down the toilet, sink or drain and must never be disposed of in the grass, shrubs or potted plants around the property.
Now you can ban your tenant from growing weed in the property. However, depending on the laws in your region, you might not be able to enforce it. It is important to have an open conversation with your tenant. Educate them on the risks of growing weed in the unit; for example risks of mold growth, property damage, impact to their renters insurance, the smell, etc.
As landlords, this means that we will need to be more vigilant in conducting more frequent inspections of our properties to check up on tenants and ensure that they are not growing weed in the unit.
For landlords, communicating and making sure that your tenant understands your expectations will go a long way to paving a path towards a strong and amicable relationship with your tenants. It will reduce the risk of conflict during the tenancy and will lower the chances of accidental damage to the property.If you need help with crafting your rules document or setting expectations with your tenants, feel free to reach out, I’m always happy to help. Send me a message to get started.
Ali AlidinaAli founded LandlordSimplified.com where he shares his learnings, experiences and his best practices to help rental property owners to overcome the learning curve in their rental property business.