Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state, and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana, and medicinal marijuana has been legalized in 25 states.
With recent changes regarding medical and recreational marijuana usage, many Colorado landlords are wondering how new laws will impact the way that they manage their units. Here’s what you should know about marijuana in your rental units.
Do I have to let my tenants use or grow it?
The legalization of pot does not require property owners to allow tenants to use or cultivate it on the premises. Most likely, your lease already includes policies relating to crime and drug use, which is highly recommended. Remember, if pot is legal in your state and your renters are adhering to regulations, then it might not be considered a criminal activity under state law. It is still illegal under federal law, however.
If your unit is already a non-smoking unit, then be sure to include marijuana in the rule. Be as clear as possible in your policy and review it with renters when it comes time to sign a lease. Remember, the easiest way to enforce a policy is to include it in the lease and establish it prior to move-in.
What if I allow it at my rental?
If you’re allowing tenants to use or grow on the premises, then there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, know your local laws and consult with a lawyer to find out what risks are associating with a tenant’s use of marijuana on your property. It is still federally prohibited, so don’t assume that you are legally protected due to state laws.
Click here to read a story about a Montana landlord who was sentenced to a year in prison for charges related to his tenants growing medical marijuana on his property.
There are also social aspects worth considering. It may be more socially acceptable than it once was, there is still some stigma associated with its use, so property owners should be aware of that. While you are fine with it, a neighbor may not be, and you may be the one that hears about it.
When it comes to growing plants, there are some special considerations. Pot plants are worth quite a bit, which could mean that there should be an increase in security. You and your occupants should think about ways to minimize the impact on your home. Consult with your insurance company to see what is and isn’t covered when it comes to damage. Growing plants can lead to an increase in humidity within the home, which can encourage mold growth.
The rules and regulations will most likely experience some changes in the upcoming years. Real estate investors should keep an eye out for news related to these changing rules and be prepared to rewrite their lease and rental policy accordingly.
Check with your local laws for more information:
Are you in a state that has legalized recreational or medicinal marijuana? Has it changed the way you managed your rentals? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.