The Province introduced legislation today to provide for legal, controlled access to recreational cannabis in British Columbia. Of particular interest to LandlordBC members and landlords and property managers throughout BC, is the Province’s important consideration to LandlordBC’s significant and targeted advocacy specific to the consumption and cultivation of recreational cannabis in rental units. This is a significant “win” for our industry and organization, and we are appreciative for the thoughtful and productive manner in which Minister Farnworth and the B.C. Cannabis Secretariat approached our concerns. We have additional details below and there will be more coming in the future.
Found near the bottom of the newly introduced Bill 30 is a relatively small section amending the Residential Tenancy Act. While this section of Bill 30 is short, it has significant impact on the residential rental industry. There are two changes which have been at the core of LandlordBC’s extensive advocacy work regarding the legalization of recreational cannabis in BC.
The amendment adds a new section to The Residential Tenancy Act – Section 21.1. This new section includes two important protections for landlords and tenants across BC, including a retro-active prohibition of smoking and growing cannabis in residential units. While this new prohibition is not an across the board full prohibition, it does add enough protections for landlords and tenants to ensure landlords’ rights regarding what happens in their properties are intact and tenants continue to have the right to live in a smoke free environment.
Once section 21.1 becomes law all tenancies which already include a clause that prohibits or limits the use of tobacco are considered to prohibit the use cannabis in the same manner. Tenancies with agreements that are silent on the topic of smoking or have a clause that specifically allows smoking will be considered to allow the smoking of cannabis.
This change is retroactive to all tenancies entered into before the “Cannabis Control Date”, which is the date this legislation becomes law. Any agreement entered into after this date must include a prohibition that specifically mentions cannabis or is a broad prohibition, such as LandlordBC tenancy agreement which bans the smoking and vaping of all combustible materials.
The cultivation of cannabis in rentals units has been a major focus of LandlordBC’s advocacy efforts over the past year and we are happy to announce that due to these efforts there will be a retro-active prohibition on the growing, cultivation, and harvest of cannabis in all rental units across BC. This ban on growing cannabis in rental units is a significant step in ensuring landlords retain the right to determine how their property is used.
Section 21.1 states that all tenancy agreements entered into before the “Cannabis Control Date” are considered to prohibit the growing, cultivation, and harvesting of cannabis in the rental units, regardless of whether the agreement has a clause that already includes this prohibition.
New Tenancies Not Included in Prohibitions
Tenancies entered into after the Cannabis Control Date, which is the date this legislation becomes law, must include terms that specifically prohibit the use and growing of cannabis and cannot rely on the retro-active prohibition. LandlordBC members using our most recent agreement will already have these important clauses. Any agreement entered into after the Cannabis Control Date will be considered to allow smoking and growing cannabis unless there is a clause that specifically prohibits these actions.
The bulk of Bill 30 is taken up by a new act “The Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.” This new act sets our rules on a variety of issues surrounding the growing, distribution, sale, and use of recreational cannabis in BC. In relation to the rental housing industry there is a clear prohibition against the smoking and vaping of cannabis in common areas within an apartment building. This is in line with the pre-existing prohibition against smoking of tobacco in common areas of apartment buildings.
The press release from the Provincial Government can be found here.