Landlord and Tenant Rights: Should landlords have the right to restrict people from smoking cannabis in their rental properties?


If you’re a landlord or a tenant, you’ve probably asked the question “should landlords have the right to restrict tenants from smoking cannabis in their rental properties”? This has become a stirring topic and debate ahead of the Oct.17 cannabis legalization date.

Cannabiz Social attended the Tour de Bowness, a bike race and community event, in Calgary on Aug. 6, and we had 93 people complete an informal poll about a variety of cannabis related topics. On the question about whether landlords should have the right to restrict tenants from smoking cannabis in their rental properties - 41 people said yes, 34 said no, and 18 said they were not sure – showing us that it may be a dividing topic.

It’s a branched-off debate, IMO, because there are many layers. What if the tenant has a prescription for medical cannabis? What about vaporizers? I myself am a renter and tend to align with the that position I assume most landlords would take.

I feel, if you’re renting, which would mean you don’t own the space, and there are parts of the lease agreement such as no smoking, pets, etc., one should adhere.

I used to be a cigarette smoker, and occasionally would consume cannabis, and never once did I light up a smoke inside the condo I rented. I always went outside. It’s hard to mask the smell of both cigarette or cannabis smoke. Both come with a distinct and strong scent.

Smoking has been known to get trapped in carpet and furniture and tends to discolour paint. It can also disturb other people if you live in a shared building. Health and safety risks are also a concern, such as secondhand smoke and the effects it has on others.

Of course, some apartments/condos/houses have balconies where a person could indulge in a cigarette or a joint, that’s what I did. Heck, I even had a little corner on my old balcony with a chair and ashtray devoted to where I would smoke.

An article I’m sharing here had some info that caught my eye. It’s about property management companies and homeowners having the opportunity to charge a premium to make the space 4/20 friendly. A lawyer quoted in the story had some interesting insights. This is something that may interest future and current tenants. This referenced article only applies specifically to people living in Alberta.

Much like legislation, every province has varying rules surrounding cannabis, and landlord/tenant rights related to cannabis are no different. Here’s an article focusing on Ontario

Quebec’s cannabis act gives landlords the right to change previously signed leases in order to ban tenants from smoking marijuana in their rental properties. The Nova Scotia government has given landlords the right to amend existing leases and put new rules in place regarding recreational cannabis use, as well as cultivation.

Saskatchewan said it is intending to allow landlords to prohibit possession, use, and sale of cannabis within rental units. Read about it here. 

British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario have all been covered in the news regarding this topic.

As an aside, I took to Twitter to create a poll. At 100 votes, 80 per cent sided with landlords, and it generated some interesting conversations. Many have said the tenant should simply just go outside, a solution I agree with. But there are certainly situations where this may not be an option.

Tenants also need to be weary of risking eviction if they decide not to follow the rules. Yes, cannabis will be a legal substance in a matter of weeks, and tenants do have rights, but not at the expense of damaging property belonging to someone else.

Much like many issues surrounding legalization, the debate pitting landlords and tenants around smoking cannabis is, and will continue to be, a work-in-progress.

What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear from you.

Written by Sheldon Smith, Content Specialist at Cannabiz Social.