Marijuana laws impact agents

by Jennifer Paterson10 Nov 2014
It’s likely a glimpse into the future of Canadian agents, with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in the States now grappling with the implications of decriminalizing marijuana, suggesting the move could have a profound impact on buyers but also agents.

“While the legalization of marijuana has more obvious implications for residential and commercial property managers who have to deal with a variety of landlord-tenant issues,” says Megan Booth, senior policy analysts at NAR in the States, “it's also creating challenges for community and condominium associations...”

Canadian agents are already aware of the challenges attached to selling homes once used as grow-ops.
“Realtors need to ask questions of sellers if they suspect the home was ever used for the growth of marijuana,” says Pauline Aunger, an agent in Ottawa and member of the Canadian Real Estate Association.

Canadian law permits the possession and use of medical marijuana; however, a production license is required to grow marijuana for medical purposes. However, illegal marijuana growing operations in homes and commercial spaces are becoming a common challenge for Canadian buyers and sellers.

Aunger says agents should recommend their investor clients make planned visits to their leased properties on a frequent basis to ensure tenants aren't violating marijuana laws.

She also says agents should disclose to potential buyers if a property was used for growing marijuana.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of U.S. states are decriminalizing or allowing for some legal use of marijuana. NAR says there could be legal and financial implications for real estate transactions.

According to Booth, as laws change, multi-family properties and condos may be required to add lease addendums or modify their association rules to clarify policies on marijuana cultivation, distribution and use.

There are also additional considerations for properties where marijuana is being grown, such as potential impacts on neighbours, tenants and properties, including smoke and odours, mold from the high humidity levels needed for growing, expensive utility costs for lights and water, and even the possibility of explosions during manufacturing of related products.

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