Legalization of marijuana could intensify management challenges for rental housing landlords already dealing with smoker vs. non-smoker conflict among tenants. Quebec’s largest rental housing association predicts relaxed marijuana rules that seem reasonable for occupants of single-family detached homes will be more problematic in multi-residential buildings.
“If homeowners grow and consume marijuana, they take responsibility for any damage to their health or property. In a rental building, owners need to be able to prevent or quickly stop an intolerable situation that is affecting many other people,” says Hans Brouillette, director of public affairs with CORPIQ (Corporation des propriétaires immobiliers du Québec). “The government should never allow growing of marijuana plants in an apartment or house that doesn’t belong to the occupant.”
Landlords responding to a recent CORPIQ survey cited concerns about the legalization of the use and cultivation of marijuana in their buildings — including odour emanating from smokers’ suites, an increase in disruptive behaviour and owners’ likely inability to enforce proposed limits on the number and size of plants individuals would be allowed to grow for private use. Fewer than 20 per cent of the surveyed landlords expect the police would actively look for violators, while 94 per cent have little or no confidence that Quebec’s Régie du logement would solve problems related to marijuana.
Quebec law now prohibits smoking of tobacco products in the common areas of all multi-residential buildings, although this directive has only applied to smaller buildings with two to five units since the spring of 2016. Landlords can also apply lease conditions to invoke smoking bans within units, but much still depends on tenants’ good faith to comply.
As an illustration of CORPIQ’s concerns, 42 per cent of surveyed landlords report that tenants have smoked marijuana in their units during the past year, while the tenants have actually had Health Canada authorization to do so in just 3 per cent of these cases. Moreover, 5 per cent of surveyed landlords say tenants have been growing marijuana in their units.