How Does Cannabis Legalization Affect Condo Management?
Cannabis and condominiums have one thing in common: they both come in a wide variety of choices that influence users. There are many factors that distinguish one condo from the other: the city, location, neighbourhood, demographics, owners, tenants and management regulations by the condo property managers.
Below are a few common questions on cannabis legalization and how provincial laws affect condo management:
- Can recreational cannabis users smoke in their units?
- What are the rules on vaping and growing cannabis?
- Do neighbours have a right to complain about the smoke and odour?
- What do condo owners and tenants need to know about cannabis laws?
- How will you ensure that every owner and tenant is informed on every update?
Canadian Cannabis Survey by Health Canada
In general, Canadians support the legalization of marijuana – a substance that has several medicinal benefits but has been historically mischaracterized by the government and policy makers.
In 2017, Health Canada published a study on the Canadian Cannabis Survey (CCS) that threw light on cannabis consumption trends. 28% of Canadians supported smoking cannabis for recreational purposes as opposed to just 19% for smoking tobacco. The preferred choice of cannabis consumption was smoking with 94% falling in that category. A smaller percentage vaped but most residents have lesser concerns about smoke from vaping. Recreational smoking comes with a few concerns.
Despite the large number of smokers, many condominiums harbour reservations about toking in common areas for fear of affecting the value of the unit. A total ban may put off bidders while letting people smoke in common areas may not go down well with non-smokers and health activists. But there is no law to prevent residents (owners and tenants) to smoke or grow cannabis, unless it creates issues for the landlord.
It is important for owners to be aware of cannabis rules. It is also important for condos to define their regulations clearly so that residents can follow the rules with ease.
Cannabis Rules and the Landlord’s Responsibilities
Second-hand smoke comes with several dangers: it can adversely affect the health of children, seniors and patients. Second-hand smoke can easily filter out of door and window gaps, get trapped in the hallway, HVAC systems, and float from one unit to another. This is what the legal authorities have to say on the subject:
- The Condominium Authority of Ontario states that the majority of people in Ontario prefer a smoke-free residential environment.
- The Smoke-Free Ontario Act prohibits smoking in common areas of multi-unit structures such as condominiums and apartments.
- Smoking both tobacco and cannabis are strictly banned in laundry rooms, lobbies, elevators and staircases among other areas.
- Although smoking in the balcony is permitted in some condos, others prohibit it.
- The landlord has the right to make the building 100% smoke-free, including the patio, balconies and indoor private space. In such situations, the tenant can smoke 9 meters away from the public entrance or exit of the building.
- Landlords must repair damaged walls, ceilings, and HVAC systems to make sure smoke does not filter out from one unit into the other.
- Tenants who are bothered by the smoke can bring up the matter with the landlord and help seek a solution.
- Regarding cannabis planting, not more than four plants can be grown per home. But in Quebec’s proposed marijuana laws, residents are not permitted to grow cannabis for personal use.
- The landlord has to clearly mention the policies in the tenancy agreement. If they fail to do so, the tenant has the right to do as they see fit.
Before a landlord leases out the unit, property managers must make the new rules clear to both parties so there are no conflicts or expensive legal hassles later.
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