How to Weed Out Potential Issues: A Landlord’s Guide To Tenants And Marijuana
We’ve seen it, you’ve seen it—stoner movies where a bunch of friends smoke pot in a nondescript living room, casually engaging in recreational activities. It doesn’t only happen in movies, however, because marijuana or weed is steadily increasing in accessibility to individuals across the nation.
Around 35 million Americans use marijuana on a monthly basis, and the substance is legal and decriminalized in some shape or form in over 46 states. Weed has proven medicinal benefits for those who use it properly and in moderation, but what does its popularization mean for you as a landlord?
What should you do when your tenants smoke up on the property? Can you stop them from doing so? Where should you draw the line when it’s your property being hotboxed daily?
In this article, we’ll discuss the potential issues and advisable solutions for dealing with marijuana and your rental property. Follow these best practices to avoid damage to your property and steer clear of disagreements with tenants.
1. Know the Laws in Your Area
Each state has its own marijuana-use laws. As a landlord, you should know the rules to protect the tenant and yourself. In Michigan, the basic laws regarding Marijuana use are:
- Adults (21 and over) can possess, use, purchase, or give away Marijuana up to 2.5 ounces
- Adults may grow up to 12 Marijuana plants within a residence
- Adults may possess up to 10 ounces of Marijuana within residences given that it is locked and stored
- Medical Marijuana is permitted
As a landlord, it’s up to you if you want to ban smoking pot but you can’t ban your tenants from possessing, consuming edibles, or applying topicals. Stay updated with your local government’s regulations online so you can communicate your implementation of them clearly to your tenants.
It’s up to you as a landlord to ensure laws are reflected in your lease and your tenants are informed of agreement changes according to changes in the law. However, it’s up to your tenants to follow the law.
2. Put Safeguards in Your Lease Agreement
Your lease agreement governs your relationship with your tenant. If you want to prohibit marijuana use on your property, include a no-smoking policy in your terms and conditions. If you’re more flexible, you can specify designated smoking areas within the property.
If a tenant is occupying your property already, ensure you give your tenants at least one month prior notice for any changes to rules and regulations affecting their rental agreement.
Your goal is to stay updated with your local government’s regulations regarding the use of marijuana, including whatever is relevant to your lease agreement, including what will happen in the event of a breach, and communicate your implementation of rules to your tenant applicants.
If they agree to your rules, they’ll have to stick to them throughout their stay. Otherwise, you have every right to follow through with the resulting consequences.
3. Regularly Inspect Your Unit
Though marijuana smoke isn’t as harmful to your property as tobacco smoke, the lingering smell can be a nuisance to future tenants and nearby neighbors. Plus, there’s always the inevitable risk of burning holes in carpets, floors, and furniture whenever indoor smoking is involved.
Inspecting your unit during occupancies is your due diligence as a landlord to ensure the contract is upheld— to see that tenants are following your rules and your property isn’t damaged. In return, both you and your next tenants are happy, and your investment thrives.
4. Weed Out Tenants Through Screening
If you decide to prohibit smoking weed on your property, start with proper applicant screening. Thorough tenant screening is key to spotting problematic renters who’ll increase your risk of damaged property, expensive evictions, and expensive turnover processes—like costly clean-up and repairs of the property.
You can know a lot about your potential tenant by interviewing them and asking for references.
Whether You Allow Weed or Not…
Remember, there’s no need to be hostile or judgmental. You’re not a regular landlord, you’re a cool landlord. Your tenant’s marijuana use shouldn’t cause you to worry if you stay informed about local laws and help your tenants stay on the same page regarding marijuana use on your property.