Ratehub.ca, Canada’s leading financial comparison website, conducted a survey of 1,200 Canadians in July and August that provides valuable insights into what landlords may face as legalization looms.
The survey makes clear that tenants are not aware of their rights when it comes to marijuana in rental homes. One in four tenants believes they should have the right to smoke and grow marijuana regardless of whether the landlord has banned it. One-third of tenants don’t know whether they can disregard the landlord’s prohibitions.
In contrast, 62% of landlords oppose smoking in rentals, while 58% oppose growing plants in rental units. Interestingly, a large majority of tenants — 72% — don’t plan to grow marijuana in their homes.
There are several lessons landlords can glean from these numbers:
It is clear that landlords need to take the lead in setting the rules and educating tenants on any restrictions. Landlords must be unequivocal with respect to the rules to avoid a showdown with tenants who are getting mixed messages from social media and peers.
Tenancy agreements will be crucial in setting out the specific limitations the landlord wishes to impose.
Landlords should anticipate that some tenants will break the rules. Enforcement must be uniform — all violators must be treated the same way.
It is unclear whether damage from marijuana is covered by insurance. Landlords should determine if their policies are up-to-date. Landlords also should discuss whether renters insurance would protect tenants from themselves in the event the unit is damaged. If renters insurance covers the damage, landlords may want to insist that tenants carry a policy.
Each province is setting out rules that help landlords regarding marijuana in rental homes. Landlords should seek legal advice from a private attorney or work with a local landlord association. Many are holding educational seminars or working with lawyers who can advise members.
Given the statistics, landlords should take a position on the pot issue. The bulk of landlords are going to restrict marijuana smoking and growing. That means rental ads that are silent on marijuana are going to attract tenants who believe there will be no restrictions. That will make it much more difficult to enforce a ban later.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.