Cannabis Legislation in Canada: What exactly are your rights as a tenant, or a landlord?

With the legalization of marijuana fast approaching, there are many burning questions for renters, landlords, and condo owners alike.

As a landlord who has already had to deal with complaints regarding the smell of marijuana from a nearby unit, I feel it’s high time issues surrounding consumption of pot were clarified for landlords and tenants. The rules and regulations are currently anything but written in stone.

As far as renters go, the debate comes down to rights surrounding consumption, versus the sensitivity to smell and subsequent restriction of rights to unfettered enjoyment of a dwelling. Factor in the rights of the licensed medicinal user, and things are going to get complicated.

If the offending smoker is a licensed medicinal user, he or she is classified as having a disability, and cannot be discriminated against on this basis according to the Ontario Human Rights Code. If a tenant with asthma is being affected by the odour or smoke emanating from the unit next door, there are now two people with disabilities whose rights need to be addressed by the landlord. The Code trumps the Landlord Tenant Board when it comes to cases involving disability.

For now, like the majority of disputes between landlords and tenants, diplomacy is of the utmost importance. Asking for compromise from all parties involved, and potentially making changes to buildings to accommodate the user (eg. ventilation, outdoor smoking areas, indoor common area lounges, vaporizers, or simply asking for understanding when scheduling a puff) may be the only options until newly signed leases can include a no-smoking stipulation.

What’s your take?