Can you tell your tenants not to smoke marijuana?

By
Real Estate Agent with 406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) 10301213186

I read an interesting article this morning in the January/February 2015 Realtor magazine.  The article was focused on landlords, and whether they have the right to tell their tenants not to use marijuana, which could be a concern in states where medicinal or recreational use is allowed.

 

The first major takeaway from the article was that a landlord who does not want the use, growth or cultivation of marijuana in their rental unit, can certainly takes steps to prohibit that use. The landlord would need to ensure their new leases had specific wording to that effect, or they would have existing tenants sign an appropriate lease addendum. The wording has to be clear that it is the use of marijuana that is prohibited (not just a "no smoking" statement).

 

But an issue may arise if a tenant does not abide by those rules. As the article posited, let's say a tenant who has a medical marijuana prescription asks her landlord for permission to smoke at home, and he/she says no but the tenant smokes anyway.  The landlord then takes the tenant to court to evict her. The judge could decide that the fact that medical marijuana is legal in that state takes precedence over the landlord's desires.  Rules about this issue are still being defined.

 

Marijuana is still an illegal drug on a national/federal level, but the government has agreed not to prosecute medical marijuana users in states allowing such use. The federal government's stance might decrease a landlord's ability to decide whether pot use is/isn't allowed in their rental unit.  Another interesting development is that some states will start requiring disclosure about pot-friendly properties. If that happens, real estate agents might be required to let their tenants know when homes they are interested in are near or in buildings where pot smoking is allowed; this could turn some potential renters off from a perfectly good rental property.

 

Right now landlords are not allowed to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, sexual orientation, source of income, and other state-specific protected classes. Will this list someday also include pot-smoker status?

 

Can you tell your tenants not to smoke marijuana?  Yes but it might not matter.  See here for the complete article.

 

 

Posted by

 

Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat

Licensed Associate Broker, CBR®

Grand Lux Realty, Inc.

428 Main Street

Armonk, NY 10504 *

* still supporting Monroe NY, Orange & Rockland counties.

 

914-419-0270 (cell)

email: kat@thehousekat.com

www.thehousekat.com

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Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Signature - I'm sure as more states get into the medical marijuana environment, more rules/laws/regulations will come into play. Thanks for the comment.

Jan 27, 2015 03:36 AM #5
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John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

I think it's a shame that landlords aren't able to set their own rules & guidelines for how they want their properties maintained.  If they don't want smoking in the house in whatever form, that should be their decision.

Jan 27, 2015 04:15 AM #6
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

John - Or if they don't want pets.... true.

Jan 27, 2015 08:33 AM #7
Rainmaker
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Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate - Marietta, GA
Empowers You With a Better Real Estate Experience

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Georgia is a long way from the neverland of legalized recreational use.  Plenty of time to see how the west coast states will handle it. 

Jan 27, 2015 08:52 AM #8
Rainmaker
536,688
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Hello Kat,  I read this article at a bad time.  I am presently in the middle of evicting a tenant.  An absolute nightmare.  It is like I am the one wrong and they have not paid rent, have broken window, hole chewed in front door.  Have taken electric and gas out of their name.  And yet I have an appointment with an attorney ($$$$) to be sure I do everything correctly.  Raises my blood pressure.  

Mark

Jan 27, 2015 10:01 AM #9
Rainmaker
3,205,356
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Kat,  It is something that landlords could have a problem with but I am not a landlord.  Sorry I could not reach you on Sunday, I wanted to sing in the rain with you.

Jan 27, 2015 11:06 AM #10
Rainmaker
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David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

You know there is so much to still have to be worked out on this its crazy but I never thought of this and you are right here in CO it is legal and I would write that into the lease as I wouldnt want my place smelling like that from a renter!

Jan 27, 2015 11:55 AM #11
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Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

If that is truly to be going the case Kat, that I wouldn't legally be able to evict a tenant who smokes pot even though our lease clearly states not to, I would no longer be eager to become a landlord.

So everywhere they are banning smoking cigarettes but pot is OK? How does that make sense?

Jan 27, 2015 01:24 PM #12
Rainer
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Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Kat.  In Massachusetts this is a real problem.

Jan 27, 2015 08:12 PM #13
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Jenna - True, for states not yet involved, there is time to watch!

Mark - I get it! Being a landlord is very tough; I did it once, then I sued to get back rent that was owed; I won but was never able to collect. I sold the house and never did that again!

Will - Thanks for commenting!!  I'm sorry I missed you also!

David - Yes, if you don't want tenants to smoke pot, it definitely needs to be in the lease!

Andrea - I bet if they find a medical reason TO smoke cigarettes (can't see that ever happening!) then landlords wouldn't be allowed to say no either.

Conrad - I bet! Being a landlord becomes trickier and trickier.

Jan 27, 2015 08:19 PM #14
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Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

We say no smoking in our properties no matter what the substance is. We had tenants ruin our property with heavy smoking. It took 2 months to rid the home of the smell and thousands of dollars.

Jan 27, 2015 11:04 PM #15
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Debbie - Apparently, if marijuana is medically permitted, there may come a time when landlords won't be able to prohibit that kind of smoking.

Jan 27, 2015 11:54 PM #16
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Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Interesting topic. I have one property that I rent out that lease says no smoking, all the others do not. That would be an interesting conversation.

Jan 28, 2015 03:42 AM #17
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Joe - You'll have to walk by each door and sniff!!!!  

Jan 28, 2015 07:23 PM #18
Rainmaker
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Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for the post. Interesting question. I would  ask a real esttae attorney for the answer if it came up..

Jan 28, 2015 09:19 PM #19
Rainmaker
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Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Kat - the medical condition is the determining factor here.  It is what it is.

Jan 29, 2015 05:52 AM #20
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Gita - Me too -- that's the smart thing to do.

Grant - True; landlords who don't want the odor in their home might have trouble stopping it.

Jan 30, 2015 05:19 AM #21
Rainmaker
5,426,004
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is a very important topic for real estate investors. There are no easy solutions.

Feb 01, 2015 06:23 AM #22
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Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Fort Worth, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

I could see where this becomes an issue. States have worked so hard to ban smoking in their schools, communities, states, etc. With this new twist, there will be challenges.

Feb 13, 2015 09:57 PM #23
Rainmaker
1,447,662
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Roy - I can see why landlords might lose their ability to control this specific issue.

Patricia - I totally agree; there certainly will.

Feb 13, 2015 10:41 PM #24
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