BC’s Cannabis Laws – What it Means for Landlords
Come July 2018, cannabis will be legal in British Columbia. This has prompted many sectors of society to question how the changes will affect them – including landlords.
Those with a rental property have expressed concerns regarding the new laws, which will allow people over the age of 19 to legally consume and cultivate marijuana for recreational purposes.
Landlords have argued that smoke and moisture could jeopardize their investment, creating material and financial harm. Some say it could also impact their legal responsibilities, including their duty to protect the health and safety of tenants, as well as their duty to ensure the quiet enjoyment for all tenants in a building.
As a result, there have been campaigns over the past few months, with landlords calling for ways to minimize these potential risks. Associations such as LandlordBC have been heavily involved, and have lobbied for a total ban on cannabis cultivation and consumption in rental housing across the province.
“Landlords will be able to prohibit non-medical cannabis smoking”
Now Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety & Solicitor General, has announced that landlords can ban their tenants from consuming and cultivating non-medical cannabis. In a press release, he verified that ‘landlords and strata councils will be able to restrict or prohibit non-medical cannabis smoking and vaping at tenanted and strata properties.’
Although this doesn’t represent a total ban, it is welcome news to many landlords nonetheless. This means that going forward, landlords will be able to include clauses in their tenancy agreements, restricting the cultivation and smoking of cannabis, just as they can prohibit tobacco use.
However, this ban will not necessarily apply to existing tenancy agreements, which won’t have been created with these new policies in mind. It’s true that many tenancy agreements already contain a ban on the smoking of combustible materials – in which case, the smoking of cannabis will not be allowed in any event. Even so, a tenancy agreement will need to be revised (with the tenant’s agreement) to include clauses on the prohibition of cannabis vaping and cultivation.
Our tenancy agreements
At Rent it Furnished, we have followed the progression of these new regulations carefully, and have adapted our tenancy agreements accordingly. The agreements signed by our tenants already had non-smoking clauses for tobacco use, and now include extra clauses that ban the vaping, smoking and growing of recreational cannabis.
Vera Sal, our Head of Property Management, says that new regulations, such as BC’s new cannabis laws, highlight the need for experienced property management staff, and justifies the continuous education provided to our team.
Erika Weimer, President of Rent it Furnished, added to this: “as regulations continue to change and be enforced, RIF has been at the forefront of keeping the public and our clients informed and compliant”, she said. “Vancouver investment real estate is our business and effective property management is a big part of that. We know how important the management of the rental property is, and we continuously ensure our staff members are well informed to navigate and enforce changes to the tenancy act.”
Vancouver property management
Although abuse or bylaw infractions have been a rare occurrence for RIF to date, the quick management of any issues or complaints is vital. We always suggest that landlords use professional property management companies to ensure prospective tenants are thoroughly screened and informed of their responsibilities during their tenancy. This is something we take very seriously at RIF, says Vera Sal.
“When a prospective tenant wants to rent one of our fully managed properties, we carry out a comprehensive check, including exhaustive landlord and employee references. This means we really try to eliminate any unsuitable tenants before they move in”, she said.
Heather Wood, Property Manager at Rent it Furnished, added: “conversely, less than perfect tenants are often less likely to apply for properties listed by licensed property management companies such as RIF, as they know that they are dealing with a professional property management company and that screening and bylaw enforcement will be taken seriously.”
Vancouver investment real estate
RIF specializes in the complete life-cycle of real estate investing. We handle the purchase, rental, management and the timely sale of investment real estate. Our comprehensive approach means we can take care of the full life cycle of your suite, including leasing strategy, rental, and full property management. Whether your property is furnished or unfurnished, a short-term stay or an annual lease, we have the team and the market experience to handle all aspects of your real estate investment.
To learn more about how RIF can help you with your Vancouver investment real estate, please contact us at Rent it Furnished to find out more.
Written by Lottie Laken