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If you’re a Landlord in Ontario, you need to be ready for the upcoming legalization of cannabis. While the new laws will impact all homeowners [Related: Guide to Pot Legalization Homeowners, Buyers and Sellers], there are some important implications for Landlords.

First, a review of the new cannabis laws in Ontario:

  • As of October 17th, 2018, it will be legal for adults 19+ years of age to possess up to 30 grams (one ounce) of marijuana – that’s equal to about 40-70 joints, depending on the size of the joint.
  • It will also be legal to grow up to 4 pot plants per residence. In other words, four plants in a single-family house, four plants in a condo or 4 plants in each apartment in a triplex. In case you’re wondering, one plant grown indoors can yield ¼ pound of pot, depending on the lighting source and growing conditions. Grown outside, it’s not unreasonable to expect one pound of pot per plant.
  • In Ontario, cannabis will initially be sold online, though licensed retail dispensaries will be a reality next year.
  • Edible marijuana products (e.g. pot gummies or lollipops) won’t be legal to possess or consume until fall 2019.
  • It’s still TBD whether or not Toronto will allow residents to grow marijuana in outdoor gardens.
  • Legit, medical cannabis users are not affected by the new legislation.
  • Condo boards are currently passing rules to deal with the legalization of cannabis. Many are going completely smoke-free (both tobacco and marijuana) and grandfathering in current smoker residents. Others are planning to rely on existing ‘nuisance’ rules to deal with any issues. If you own a condo, talk to your property manager to understand what they are doing and how that impacts you and your Tenant.

Tips for Ontario Landlords

  • Include a no-smoking rule in the lease. Section 10 of Ontario’s standard Residential Tenancy Agreement allows you to specify smoking rules. If the Tenant agrees in writing to not smoke in the unit and proceeds to smoke, you likely have grounds to evict them. Note that evictions in Ontario are not easy, and you’ll be probably be asked to prove that the smoke was either damaging the unit or interfering with the enjoyment of other tenants.  
  • Include a ‘no grow’ rule in the lease that specifically states that the Tenant is prohibited from growing marijuana in the unit.
  • Condos: If you’re renting out your condo, make sure to give Tenants a copy of the condominium rules and bylaws. If your condo building is smoke-free, the Tenants must abide by the rules. It’s good practice to advertise the rules in advance of securing a new Tenant.
  • Home Insurance: While we still don’t know how Ontario home insurers are going to deal with cannabis legalization and pot being grown inside of apartments, homes or condos, make sure your policy covers you if your Tenant smokes or grows the legally-allowed four pot plants inside the home.
  • Hydro Usage: Do your tenants pay for their own hydro? If they decide to grow the legally allowed four pot plants, how will that affect your hydro bill? According to the CBC:From lights and heating to pumps and ventilation fans, it’s estimated that it takes about 2,000 kWh to make a pound of product using traditional growing methods. That’s close to how much electricity an average Canadian household uses in two months.”  The good news is that there are lots of new homegrow kits and hydroponic options out there to help minimize smells and optimize energy. The Gobro One Hydroponic Grow Box, for example, has an LED lighting system, carbon filters for smell reduction and claims that the average user spends less than $5/month in extra hydro. [side note: it looks pretty cool too]
  • Pot Smells: Like cigarette smoke, pot smoke tends to permeate everything. If your tenant is smoking weed in your house or condo, be prepared for bigger cleaning bills in between tenants. Depending on how much they smoke, you might also be looking at having to paint and replace carpets and drapery. Section 13 of the Ontario Residential Tenancy Agreement states that “the tenant must repair or pay for any undue damage to the rental unit or property caused by the willful or negligent conduct of the tenant, the tenant’s guests or another person who lives in the rental unit”.
  • Protect yourself: there are some clauses that your REALTOR can include in the agreement to help protect you and your property from damage from smoke or marijuana plants…but with Ontario’s new standard lease, you’ll be limited by what you can include.
  • Spot checks! It’s smart to schedule regular inspections with your Tenant and your property. In Ontario, you must provide 24 hours written notice (indicating the reason for entry, date, time and length of entry). The Tenant does not have to be home during the inspection.
  • Is your property a grow-op? Ontario’s rules allow for the growing of 4 pot plants per residence, so a 4-unit house could have as many as 16 pot plants in it, and apartment buildings could, in theory, become small-scale grow-ops. When it comes time to sell, make sure to discuss with your REALTOR and lawyer about any disclosures that you need to make about the pot-growing activity that has taken place in your home.

Being a Landlord in Ontario isn’t easy, and the new cannabis legalization will raise some serious concerns that you need to be ready to address.


  1. What about when you own a duplex , one tenant suffers from severe copd and has oxygen in the house And the other tenant has a licence for use of medical pot . The tenant who has copd complains that he can’t breath every time the neighbor lights up .The smell of pot permeates through the walls causing a direct impact on the neighbor. The one with the licence was told verbally and made to read and sign a lease stating there would be no smoking of any sort allowed on premises . have been told this they continue to smoke it anyway ..we have been told it almost impossible to get rid of tenant because of this . what is our recource ?

    • “The one with the licence was told verbally and made to read and sign a lease stating there would be no smoking of any sort allowed on premises . have been told this they continue to smoke it anyway” That is a breach of the agreed lease and it is also disturbing another tenant, so it sounds like you could easily get an eviction! I myself am a medical cannabis user and grower, living in a rental unit! Using a vaporizer to medicate would eliminate any smoke smell, as it does not combust the cannabis. If the tenant agreed and signed the lease, they are in the wrong to continue to smoke and disrupt the rental property!

      • Actually, medicinal cannabis use is protected code ground and the burden of proof is on the landlord. No lease can restrict medicinal cannabis because to do so would be discrimination and it would be laughed out of landlord and tenant board. The reality is the landlord is responsible for providing medical accomodations not just to the person with COPD but also the medicinal cannabis user so all that would happen is the landlord would be instructed to pay out of pocket to accomodate both of them on code grounds. Smoking cannabis is the quickest delivery mechanism and many conditions cannot be properly treated with vaping, however vaping is just a hot oven so it’s the same as baking cannabis and it will smell and it will cause air quality changes for anyone who shares air with your tenant. You can request the tenant open windows or provide a fan for their window to constantly pull the air out to prevent it from staying in the building, something along the lines of fixing ventilation, but you cannot make someone homeless just because they use medicinal cannabis. To do so would be a violation of human rights and the accessibility act of Ontario and Canada.

    • How about you go and talk to the tenant tenant like a human being with a non aggressive demeanour and try to work something out. Vaping does not smell as much or for as long. Geeze what’s with landlords, we’re all people and most of the time others are receptive to some sort of meeting at half way, unless one party is just being a complete ass.

      • The fact that kicking out the medicinal user is the first thought means that the landlord likely is acting on prejudice against a medicinal cannabis user. Also vaping isn’t appropriate treatment for many conditions, no one can dictate how to we take our meds but us and our doctors.

  2. The truth speaker says:

    The issue is open room growing using soil..That is like taking an old couch..dousing it with water…throwing a hot light over it and allowing the moisture to evaporate into the walls and foundation..THAT IS THE PROBLEM..NOT THE PLANTS.. if you used a grow tent and a carbon filter with LED lighting and water as the growth medium..Theres no smell…no humidity..even if there was.. (my grow stayed at 35% RH) it’s vented outside..

    THE WHOLE PROBLEM is ignorance…ignorance on the side of newbie growers who think you just throw some mud on the nice floor with some seeds and a 1000 watt Hps light…There is also the same if not MORE ignorance on the part of landlords who are trying to create a blanket ban because THEY are TOO LAZY to create …

    The Landlords Cannabis Compliancy Council…Where they can better serve their tenants who pay them 80% of their monthly incomes to live in these places…YOU serve us…we DONT serve you…

    so any Landlord who wants to evolve and stand out from the rest..I have a full document written up where people get to grow…by a specific guideline..that negates ANY AND ALL future damage down to $0000 and millions saved…Hell you can even make money selling the gear by monthly payments and cash in on something that’s gonna happen anyway..my main pitch is

    People are gonna grow..and most will do it wrong..so

    Who’s with me..????

  3. The truthspeaker says:

    I had left a well spoken and intelligent comment free from the swearing of above comments and it was censored…and removed.
    All I wanted was for knowledge to over power stigma and discrimination..people are gonna do this regardless and if a system was in place that follows a standard..then no house from then forward…would incur any damage whatsoever and that alone is what landlords are striving for..I meant no ignorance or hurt feelings and I didn’t use profane language..

  4. The problem lies in the fact that most insurance companies will not insure any sort of growing within the residence!! Without insurance you cant hold a mortgage!! Its clear cut here people… if you dont own the residence you shouldnt be able to grow!!!! Very clear here…

    • Medicinal cannabis growing is protected by code grounds and cannot be forced to be regulated without violating code grounds and the accessibilities act of Ontario and Canada. Recreational cannabis can be banned on the least and almost always is in my experience. I have even witnessed people try to make disabled people sign over their right to grow, but I think if tested in landlord and tenant board, unless it is causing undue hardship, landlords won’t be able to do anything about it because medical users have rights.

  5. My problem tops it all, my tenant started with 4 plants and now he is acquiring a licence for more …. what’s my rights ???? I need answers please… can I evict?

  6. Lawrence Chow says:

    I live in Markham and smoke cannabis daily outside the door to my house, or sometimes in the car parked on my driveway. Markham has a bylaw that prohibits smoking cannabis in public there for I only smoke on my property. My neighbor dislikes the odour. I have been doing this for 17 years…Can I be sued? Am I within my rights to smoke? Do I need his approval? Also if I obtain a prescription am I exempt for such bylaw?

    • If you have a prescription you have protections and the right to accessible use of your medication in accordance with the accessibilities act of Canada and Ontario. (I searched for Ontario but now I wonder if this is just for Ontario 😂)

  7. Our home is a semi one side is ours and the other is owned by another who rents it out.. Everything was fine until new people moved in and they smoke weed.. Its a basement apt too.. Now our basement and washroom smells like weed. Its making my wife sick and she say she gets headaches too.. What can we do.. Do we have rights it our home. By the way we are seniors too.

    • Brendan Powell says:

      While there is nothing illegal about smoking in your own home, (just like loud music) once it starts to impact your neighbours then it could be considered a nuisance.
      The obvious first step would be to speak to the neighbours themselves and explain the impact (perhaps air filters could help?), and/or speak to the landlord. Next step would be to call 411 to see if there are nuisance odour bylaws and procedures where you live, and/or Public Health if the smoke is impacting your health. Sorry this is happening!

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