Can Residential Landlords Restrict Cannabis Activity in Rental Units?

In June 2018, Canada’s Cannabis Act will formally legalize the use of recreational marijuana. This isn’t a free-for-all, however, and the new law allows individual provinces to institute their own regulations concerning various legal and illicit activities, including growing, using and selling cannabis.

As provinces like Ontario slowly implement rules and governance strategies, many tenants and landlords are wondering: How will the laws impact my apartment or condo? Here’s how the HLD landlord dispute lawyers can help.

Understanding Existing Laws

Condo boards play important roles in this developing arena. As legal bodies that determine how to set and enforce by-laws, adhere to the provisions of the Condo Act and handle other matters, they’re instrumental in setting the tone for Canada’s changing cannabis landscape.

Currently, many landlords are using existing laws as guidelines for how to address cannabis usage. Rules like the Residential Tenancies Act, or RTA, for instance, give landlords the ability to terminate tenancies when they can establish that tenants committed illegal acts. Such grounds have typically been used to evict tenants who used marijuana without medical licenses from Health Canada, but as recreational usage goes into full swing, landlord and tenant boards will have to look to other means.

The RTA also allows for tenancy terminations when tenants interfere with other people’s quality of life. It’s important to note, however, that these terminations bear a higher burden of proof than those based on illegal actions. In Ontario, rules like the Smoke-Free Ontario Act have already been expanded to include medical marijuana smoke in addition to tobacco smoke.

What Will the New Law Mean for You?

This is an important time for owners and tenants. Some landlords may overstep their bounds by trying to terminate tenancies based on their own prejudices, such as those who crack down on marijuana users who don’t smoke the substance but rather consume it in edible forms. On the other hand, tenants must recognize that due to the construction of their condos or apartments, certain forms of usage, such as smoking indoors in buildings that have shared ventilation systems, might negatively impact their neighbors or landlords.

As the law changes, it’s highly likely that mistakes will occur on both sides because things aren’t so clear. Finding legal representation is critical to navigating these uncertain waters successfully, especially for entities like condo boards that want to avoid the negative publicity associated with high-profile disputes or use tools like common expense liens to cover smoke remediation costs.

Landlord and tenant board appeals and other forms of out-of-court resolution are sure to prove critical as the nation’s legal frameworks shift. Whether you’re a tenant, owner or corporation, talking to the landlord dispute lawyers at HLD may be your safest bet for coexisting with legal cannabis responsibly.

If you have any questions or are in need of a lawyer regarding the above topic, do not hesitate to call HLD Lawyers at 416-800-2557 and learn more about your options.