The development to legitimize recreational and medical cannabis is picking speed across the nation, along with the District of Columbia and four other states allowing recreational and medical cannabis. What does this mean for tenants, landlords and residential property owners?
Initiative 71, as it was known, declared in November 2014, and in February 2015 ownership of 2 ounces or less of cannabis became lawful for D.C. It is also now legal for D.C. inhabitants over 21 or more years of age to recreationally cultivate and use cannabis in their private properties. The sale and purchase of marijuana is not lawful. And also not to use it outside of your property. However, DC landlords and property owners may still restrict their tenants from using and growing marijuana in their rental homes. As of Thursday, February 26, 2015, the District of Columbia joined Alaska, Colorado, and Washington, and legitimized recreational and medical cannabis. While cannabis use in D.C. was previously restricted to the individuals with official medical marijuana cards, all visitors and residents of the District can own a limited amount of marijuana with the end goal of utilization in their private properties and can cultivate marijuana plants in their private properties. So when you are renting a property that is owned by another individual, what are the rules and guidelines?
The answer is that the proprietors are not needed to allow tenants this benefit nor should they be slanted to do so. There is nothing mentioned in Initiative 71 that keeps a property owner from restricting their tenants from owning and growing allowed amounts of marijuana/cannabis. Even though the inhabitants may lawfully use marijuana in the District of Columbia, such marijuana use remains a criminal offence under federal laws. For D.C. properties getting federal funds, proprietors should consent with federal law and are required to restrict the utilization of marijuana and decline prospective tenants who utilize marijuana, whether for allowed medical reasons or recreationally. Beside the law, there are many other businesses, safety and health issues why D.C. proprietors should restrict recreational marijuana use on their properties.
It is not only about cannabis: Proprietors have the privilege to restrict activities on their property as long as there is not a lawful rule explicitly precluding them from doing as such. He or she just has to add a clause in the lease explicitly prohibiting it. However, since the marijuana law is so new, it is conceivable that your lease has nothing on the matter of marijuana. So does that mean you are in the clear to use and grow marijuana legitimately?
Joel Cohn (Legislative director of D.C.’s office of the tenant advocate), says, Generally, a proprietor cannot force a new lease commitment in the middle of the tenancy/occupancy. This would imply that in fact, if the lease said nothing regarding cannabis, the tenant may be able to use and grow an allowed amount of marijuana for the continuation of the lease. If the proprietor wanted to restrict it, he or she would need to hold up until the lease end up and include a clause restricting marijuana in the next rental agreement.
Since regulations on tenants need to be added in the lease agreement, however, as a tenant you should arrange that agreement, says Eidinger, 42.
You can offer to pay a little more money in return for being permitted to use and cultivate cannabis, he recommends. But, not a plenty additional. Several residential buildings as of now had restrictions on using marijuana, and those can also apply to use and grow marijuana too, contingent upon how the clause is composed.
So it is a decent idea to speak to your proprietor before using and growing your own marijuana. If you wish to make any amendments to the rental agreement to introduce equipment, you will require their acceptance in any case. Eidinger says, be honest and straight with your proprietor. Tell them examples of what you are thinking to do. Show them images/snaps of other buildings; maybe even take them on a visit of a building with a comparative setup.
If your proprietor rejects to allow you to use and grow marijuana, you can take them to court.
Cohn Says: If the lease agreement as of now says no smoking, I think the proprietor could be expected to win. If there is no such rent condition, there will be a good debate on both sides.