Article By: Neil O’Donnell
It’s also legal to have up to 4 pot plants per residence. That would be between ¼ pound to 1 pound of weed depending if you grow indoors vs outdoors and growing conditions, your expertise etc. Since I can kill a cactus if I tried to grow my yield would probably be zero. (NB: to be legal in Ontario, the plants have to originate from licensed providers.)
So what are the impacts for Real Estate?
There is still a lot of unknowns as everyone is trying to adjust to the issue. However, here is what we know to date.
Will pot legalization affect my home insurance?
We think it’s safe to assume that when you get a new insurance policy or renew an existing one, your insurer will ask if you are growing cannabis in your home. Legalized pot is new, and time will tell if insurers eventually consider it on par with making your own wine or beer at home or growing an indoor herb garden. Mine hasn’t come up for renewal yet so I don’t know what they will ask of me for my own insurance.
Can growing pot damage my home?
If done right and only the 4 plants permitted, no it shouldn’t damage your home. There is a huge difference between an illegal grow up in a home growing 10,000 plants than growing 4. If you are going to grow the plants in your home consider setting aside an area and construct it to be sealed so you can control the humidity and ventilation so the plants get what they need and you keep the extra humidity out of the rest of your home.
Will I be able to get financing for a home where pot was grown?
Unknown however we expect you will. The lender that holds your mortgage wants to protect their investment and they want to ensure there aren’t any major issues in the home. Banks usually do not mortgage former grow-ops, but they’ve been mostly silent so far on any impacts of legalized weed on financing.
How are condos affected by cannabis legalization in Ontario?
Many condo boards have been actively working to put in place new rules and bylaws to deal with pot legalization. Here’s what you need to know about condos:
Many condominiums have chosen to go completely smoke-free, meaning that both marijuana and tobacco cigarettes will be banned in common spaces as well as individual condo units and private balconies.
If you don’t have a weed smoke-free rule in your building, every condominium has rules that prevent owners from being a nuisance to others – so if your condo neighbour is making Churchill size joints everyday we’d suggest talking to your property manager.
NOTE: Medical users living in a condo will need to prove that they have a medical need and cannot ingest it in another format. In addition, they may be required to install ventilation in the unit.
NOTE II: Many condominiums are putting in place rules that prevent the Concierge from accepting marijuana deliveries..(they don’t want the liability for under age, etc) so ordering online may be a bit of a pain.
I’m buying a condo. Can I smoke cigarettes or marijuana in it?
Most have gone no however that will be in the condo rules set by the board and you should be able to get a copy before buying the unit. Don’t make any assumptions. You know what they say about that.
How will property values be affected by legalized pot?
Unknown now that it’s legal. If you’re not a cigarette smoker and you go into a home where they did smoke you can tell from the smell. Pot is worse. SO, if the person buying the home doesn’t want it to smell then you could see it sell for less than comparable homes. If the owner was not growing smart and the added humidity results in mould then the selling price could be less even more. However, if the pot is grown by responsible home grower – with 4 or fewer plants – and they smoke outside so no smell inside the home it should be fine. NOTE: There still is a stigma around pot and some people won’t even consider buying a home if its been grown on site.
I’m considering buying a home where pot was grown…what should I be worried about?
Home Insurance – You should ask before you buy what impact growing pot in a home will be on your policy. That way you will know the extra cost, if any, before making an offer.
Financing – Check with your mortgage broker or lender before making any offers, to ensure they will finance the property. I expect it won’t be a big deal but I would also expect them to pay closer attention to the home inspection as they look for potential damage caused by the growing of pot in the home. Again to protect their interests.
Damage to the home – Make sure you get a home inspection. They will help determining if there is any existing damage related to the growing of pot by the existing owner.
Smells – If the current owners are smoking pot indoors, what will it take to get rid of smells? Will you need to repaint, replace the carpets and get new curtains, etc? This will be extra costs so you need to be prepared.
Once pot is legalized in Ontario, I want to grow 4 plants. As a homeowner, what do I need to know?
Electricity Costs: Growing pot takes a lot of light, so be ready for the hydro bills. If you can buy energy-efficient systems to keep costs down and speed up growth. Most suppliers can help you with this.
Home Insurance: Check with your insurance company to see if growing pot will affect your premiums or coverage. And NEVER lie to the insurance company – the only thing worse than not having home insurance is having it and doing something stupid so they can refuse to pay out a claim.
Smells and damage: Are you prepared to manage the impact of smells or potential mold and fungus damage to your home? Do your research on water, light and ventilation and know what you’re getting into so you can do it smart. Again, as a REALTOR, I need to tell you: don’t even think of smoking pot (or anything else) indoors. That smell that gets on everything, walls, carpet, cabinets, flooring, everything. That becomes costly when you need to replace it all or discount the selling price to account for it.
Disclosures: You will need to disclose that you’ve been growing pot to future Buyers. You don’t want anything to be a possible reason for a buyer to back out of the deal.
Condos: see above.
I’m a Landlord. How does cannabis legalization affect me?
We’ve dedicated an entire blog for landlords. Read Legal Weed: What Landlords Need to Know.
I’m selling my home in the legal weed world. What do I need to know?
We’ve covered disclosures and you should always err on the side of caution which means tell them. We’ve also talked about managing the smell and the possibility of having to do a minor reno to get rid of the smell and any possible damage (mould, etc) caused by smoking and growing weed.
The other thing you need to consider is:
Inclusions: Are the pot plants in the garden included in the sale? In most sales, the maple tree is included, and so are the tulips. What about the pot plant? If you are including it what’s the value of the plants?
Viewings: While the home is being shown for sale what should you do with the plants? Should you hide the plants? How many Buyers will be frightened away by a 4-foot tall marijuana plant? As you know we tell all our clients to remove all valuables from your home to protect them from theft at a showing or at an open house. Any pot products should be removed as well for the above reasons and also you don’t want a child accidentally ingesting a pot gummy. The liability exposure would be a mess.
Legal Pot is here and this blog was accurate as I can make it at the time of writing (May 1, 2019), but things will continue to change and evolve.
I’m not a lawyer and I don’t pretend to be. So nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice. The only advice I would give to always check with industry experts (insurance, mortgage, home inspectors, lawyers, etc) if you have any questions.
I’m a REALTOR, but you should always check with your OWN realtor about any questions regarding your own individual situation.
For a more in-depth discussion on these topics, go to: Request a FREE Copy of our latest book, “The Value-Driven Approach to Sell Real Estate: How to protect yourself from Real Estate Greed and bank extra profit by thinking like the great Warren Buffett.”