who want to ban tenants from smoking marijuana
Ontario landlords who want to ban tenants from smoking marijuana better check their
existing lease agreements to see if it’s possible, Ottawa paralegal Amri Murray
tells AdvocateDaily.com. “In this province, once a lease agreement is signed that
tenants to smoke tobacco, then that automatically includes marijuana unless there
are restrictions through condo bylaws or your lease agreement,” says Murray,
principal of AJ Murray Legal Services.
“Landlords can’t arbitrarily insert new terms
into existing lease agreements to ban smoking marijuana if tobacco smoking is
permissible ,” she says.
Ontario tenants who have no restrictions in their lease
agreements or within condo bylaws would be allowed to legally grow marijuana at
home, Murray says. Anyone who wants to grow their own pot must remember that they
only allowed four plants per household, she says.
“It’s a very common misconception that everyone
can have four plants,” she says, “but it is actually four plants per household, not
Even in cases where multiple people who are not related
occupy a single home, “it is still four plants per household,” she says. Murray says
the Ontario Landlord Association has been campaigning to have the government give
landlords more power to regulate the consumption and growing of marijuana in their
properties, as other provinces are less lenient when it comes to pot in rental
units. A recent CTV News article states that in Quebec
and Nova Scotia, landlords have the right to change signed leases so that tenants
can be banned from smoking marijuana.
In Saskatchewan, legislation is being crafted to allow
landlords to prohibit “the possession, use, and sale” of cannabis inside rental
units, according to the article.
If Ontario landlords want to restrict the use
and the production of marijuana on their properties, Murray says they will have to
wait until the lease terminates, and then rewrite their contracts outlining the
Murray says landlords have various concerns with marijuana, including that its
distinct odour could waft into adjoining units.
Where there are other tenants who may be
affected by smoke, landlords do, in fact, have a right to be concerned , she says.
If marijuana smoke is constantly drifting to a
neighbour’s property and disturbing that tenant’s right to the quiet enjoyment of
their own property, the smoker could face eviction ,
Considering some rental units include the cost of electricity
in the monthly rent, Murray says landlords could be stuck with higher electrical
bills if people use heat lamps to grow their cannabis plants.
Another risk is fire from these lamps,” she
says, noting that many illegal grow-ops have gone up in flames.
There has been some debate about whether to make medicinal
marijuana subject to the same rules as the regular variety because “once smoking is
banned in a rental unit, it usually means all smoking,” she says. Those who
require medicinal pot could argue it’s their civil right to smoke it at home, Murray
says, adding, “though there is the counter-argument that there are other ways that
it can be ingested besides smoking it.”
She recommends that landlords carry out regular inspections of their property.
Where there is smoking, you may wish to ensure
there is no damage caused as a result of such actions ,” says Murray.
For tenants, she recommends they carefully review their lease agreement for certain
restrictions, to ensure compliance.
“Tenants could face eviction should their
marijuana smoking be found to infringe upon the rights of other tenants or the
landlord ,” Murray says.