Will cannabis use be a horror for rental property owners?

Published on by Martin Messier

Topic(s): Word of the editor

In the wake of the law that will probably legalize the use of cannabis, beginning on July 1, 2018, rental property owners and tenants of rental income housing are quite concerned.

Indeed, the odours resulting from cannabis smoke are very strong and quite annoying for most people. In a building, ventilation systems and the proximity of people to each other are elements that converge into a problematic situation for everyone’s life.

In a recent decision, the Régie du logement accepted a landlord’s request for termination of the lease because one of his tenants was using cannabis and had a prescription from his physician allowing him to use cannabis for medical purposes.

After having assessed the disadvantages for all parties concerned, the Régie du logement determined that, although it is legal for the tenant to consume cannabis, the inconvenience for the other occupant(s) of the neighbouring dwelling justifies the termination of the lease.

This decision, which follows certain other judgements for similar issues, is good news for owners of rental properties. However, in a situation such as this one, the landlord has the burden of proving that the situation caused by the tenant by smoking cannabis legally does him (the landlord et al.) serious harm.

This burden of proof is heavy and the evidence is difficult to bring forward. For this reason, it is important that, if your dwellings are located and constructed in such a way that cannabis use propagates smoke and may harm other occupants, you should consider excluding its consumption as a condition in your leases. We have designed a guide exclusively for our members to assist you in this process.

It is, however, not in all cases that the owners wish to exclude cannabis consumption from their housing leases. Indeed, several owners have explained to us that the configuration of their building and the type of construction limit the proliferation of smoke.

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