What Are Tenants’ Rights Under Proposed Marijuana Laws?

Article by CTV News

Bob Aaron, a Toronto-based real estate lawyer, said that just like with cigarette use, landlords may not be able to prevent all tenants from smoking marijuana inside their units.

With the federal government’s plan to legalize recreational marijuana by July 2018, landlords across Canada have been raising concerns about marijuana use in rental units.

Many landlords want to prohibit tenants from growing and smoking marijuana on their properties, but one lawyer says it may not be so easy.

Bob Aaron, a Toronto-based real estate lawyer, said that just like with cigarette use, landlords may not be able to prevent all tenants from smoking marijuana inside their units.

Aaron said landlords cannot retroactively prohibit smoking inside rental units, but they can certainly include the restriction in new leases.

“The uncertainty we’ve had before with cigarettes now is just magnified with the impending legalization of marijuana,” Aaron told CTV News Channel on Thursday.

“Migrating smoke goes from one unit to another and people get upset all the time.”

The general rule, Aaron said, is that you can smoke tobacco or marijuana in your own unit, but if the migrating smoke interferes with somebody else’s enjoyment of their property, then the landlord can attempt to take action.

But court battles over smoking in rental units have gone “both ways” in the past, with the courts sometimes ruling in favour of the tenant, and sometimes siding with the landlord, Aaron said.

And many users of medical marijuana have won their cases before human rights tribunals when their pot use or cultivation has been challenged by the landlord, he noted.

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