Certified Appraisals, Inc. Blog

Marijuana and Landlords
February 26th, 2015 1:40 PM
As marijuana legalization sweeps the nation, with twenty-three states having legalized medical marijuana and four states recreational marijuana, many landlords and property managers may wonder how to handle tenants who use the drug on their properties. Many may question whether they have legal rights to ban the drug from their properties, or if their tenants have rights to use on their rental property.

Of course, there are no laws preventing landlords from writing lease agreements that prohibit the use of marijuana on their property. If a landlord should choose to use a lease agreement it should clearly state the prohibition of marijuana cultivated, grown, or used on their property. For lease agreements already existing, the landlord may have their tenants sign an addendum that specifically addresses this situation.

However, if the landlord does want to prohibit marijuana from their properties, and chooses to include proper wording in the lease agreement, the laws are still unclear and do not guarantee all rights to the landlord. If a state law says that no tenant shall be penalized for using marijuana, is eviction for violations a viable option for landlords? In some states, landlords may actually be penalized for such action, so there is a growing concern for landlords about enforcing a zero-tolerance policy. If, for example, a medical marijuana patient uses the drug after his/her landlord verbally prohibits such action, but the state law gives the right, the landlord may not be able to evict him/her. Since laws are still in their infancy, a judge may decide in favor of the tenant. The federal government has pledged to not prosecute medical marijuana users, and if more states legalize recreational marijuana it will become more difficult for landlords to prosecute users.

Marijuana laws are still evolving. For now, the best thing for landlords and property managers to do is to pay careful attention to state laws and their own lease agreements. Make sure lease agreements explicitly state that marijuana of any form is prohibited on the premises and is signed by the tenant. Other than that, time will tell as to what laws go into affect and if they will be in favor of the tenant or landlord.

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Posted by John Cordasco on February 26th, 2015 1:40 PMPost a Comment

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