“Landlords have a duty to become familiar with these laws”

Marijuana laws may be changing, but some homeowners are still apprehensive about allowing the substance in their rental properties.


Jason Sheppard 


With the legalization of marijuana on the horizon across Canada, provinces will be responsible for its sale and regulation.

When the new laws are enacted, landlords will then have to determine whether they will allow tenants to use or even grow the drug in their homes. As of July 1, each household can grow four plants.

St. John’s homeowner Lisa Codner O’Flaherty is apprehensive on allowing such activity to take place in her home where she rents basement apartment.

“While I have no issue with anyone using it for either medical or recreational reasons, I would, as a landlord, prohibit it from being smoked inside the premises for several reasons,” said Codner O’Flaherty. “Smoke permeates an entire dwelling and I would be physically ill from the exposure.”

Codner O’Flaherty says the stench from smoke is extremely difficult to get rid of and would involve extensive cleaning of the house.

“A damage deposit of 75 per cent of the rent would not come close to covering this,” she said.

Some of the negative effects attributed to growing marijuana in a home include; black mold, warped wood because of high levels of humidity, holes in walls or roofs made for ventilation, moisture trapped inside drywall and odd odors.

When marijuana becomes legal on July 1, individuals will be allowed to grow four plants in their home.

Landlords such as Kristen Pittman-Burton of Corner Brook says it won’t be allowed in her rental property.

“I think of marijuana usage as the same as cigarettes,”said Pittman-Burton. “I personally will be maintaining the no smoking rule within the apartment I rent, regardless of whether it is cigarettes or marijuana.”


Many homeowners who rent basement apartments are apprehensive about allowing tenants to use marijuana for recreational or medical reasons. Federal legislation will make marijuana legal on July 1 and allow each household to grow four plants.  Jason Sheppard/Kicker

Growing marijuana requires ventilation and high-powered grow lights. Beyond landlord concerns,  fire chief Jerry F. Peach of the St. John’s Regional Fire Department says there are safety concerns.

“Should we discover any unsafe or questionable operations during our duties, we will secure the site, mitigate any risks and refer the site to the appropriate organization for resolution,” said Peach.

With the new federal guidelines fast approaching, the rules and regulations concerning the use of marijuana in rental properties will continue to evolve.

Landlords, said Codner O’Flaherty, must familiarize themselves with the laws.

“A tenant’s use of marijuana must be balanced with the health and safety of other residents in the dwelling and the integrity of the building itself,” said Codner O’Flaherty. 

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