Legal Recreational Cannabis and the Impact on the Ottawa Real Estate Market

Recreational cannabis has been legal in Canada for just over one year. The Federal Cannabis Act has been rolled out in a very Canadian manner. Saskatchewan is considered to have been the most effective in the implementation of the new law. Ontario has been the slowest and is still lagging all the other provinces and territories.

What has been the impact of the law on the real estate industry now and what will it be in the future? The Federal and Provincial regulations and the City bylaws are constantly being updated. To keep up to date, it is very important to work with a knowledgeable, professional and trustworthy Real Estate Agent REALTOR®.

Selling your home in the legal cannabis world. What do I need to know?

When selling your home always think about it from potential buyers’ perspective. With the help of your Agent you will follow the normal steps to prepare your home. If cannabis has been smoked in the home extra steps will be required. Bad smells of any type are not appealing to a potential buyer.  If your home does smell of cannabis, it will sell it for a lower price. If cannabis has been smoked indoors, get the house repainted, the carpets and drapes cleaned or replaced and consider getting an ozone machine to neutralize the smells. When this has been completed, have friends or neighbours visit the house to ensure it passes the smell test.

Buying a home in the legal cannabis world. What do I need to know?

Always check and ask if there has been any damage to the home due to the use of cannabis or the growing of cannabis plants. Consult your Real Estate Agent REALTOR® to see if additional inspections should be completed. If cannabis has been smoked, take time to see if you or your family, especially children can detect any smells. Depending on the size of the home, it can cost many thousands of dollars to remove the smells. If the house was used as an illegal grow op, there is probably structural damage, mold and illegal wiring. It is best to look for another home.

Will pot legalization affect my home insurance?

When dealing with your insurance agent it is always best to be truthful and honest. Insurance companies have always been reluctant to insure former grow ops. With recreational now legal, the Cannabis Act allows only four plants per household. The law and your insurance company require that all the seed and starter material must come from legal sources and receipts are always required. Acquiring starting materials will become easier in the future but remains a challenge. It is best to keep all the receipts and paperwork in a safe location outside for the home. In case of fire you can prove that everything was legal.

Rental Properties

Being a property owner or landlord is never easy. The recent changes to the laws have made it even more challenging. Landlords are legitimately concerned about the effect of recreational cannabis on their rental properties.  The Cannabis Act applies to you as the property owner and to the tenants. The tenants right to smoke tobacco or cannabis is up to the exciting lease agreement and your building rules and regulations. It is always important for tenants and their guests to know the building rules.

If the tenant does not pay their own hydro, always check for an unusually high usage. This may indicate that the tenants are growing plants in the unit. Always include a no-smoking rule in the lease. Section 10 of Ontario’s standard Residential Tenancy Agreement allows you to specify smoking rules. Include a ‘no grow’ rule in the lease that specifically prohibits the growing of cannabis plants in the rental unit. The use of spot checks is always a good way to cheek on your tenants. It is best to have the tenant in the unit during the visit however, in Ontario given proper written notice you can enter the unit.

Condo Properties

Over the last year Ottawa condo boards have been working hard to get approval for new rules and bylaws to deal with the Cannabis Act. Many have chosen to go completely smoke-free in all common spaces. Many have also included the actual condo units including balconies. If you are renting your condo, make sure to give the tenants a copy of the condominium rules and bylaws. If you have any questions it is best to contact the condo board.

With the Cannabis Act only starting its second year there will be many more changes to come. The introduction of edible cannabis products may reduce the amount of cannabis that is smoked in private homes. This will make the buying and selling of properties much easier. The best way to keep up to date with all the changes, it is always best to work with Real Estate Agent REALTOR®.

For more information, check out the Ontario cannabis legalization check out  or talk to your REALTOR® today.