BOULDER – Marijuana remains more illegal than legal on the national level, but the movement is certainly gaining ground. So far, a handful of states have legalized on the recreational front (with several more states allowing medicinal marijuana). For landlords, this provides a new element to renting: to grow or not to grow – that is the question.
If you own property, you must decide if you will allow cannabis on the premises. Some landlords are adamantly against it and their decision is easy: it doesn’t matter if you live in a legal state – when you’re under their roof, no smoking allowed.
However, if you’re open to renters who imbibe, what do you need to know? Start with the following:
Your state and city laws
Federally, marijuana remains illegal, preventing a blanketed law that covers all fifty states. Rather, each state (and cities within those states) have their own laws. The rules for residential use and in-home growing vary: every state has different rules – know yours before you rent.
Where you stand
As mentioned above, your mind may be made up – no lease for the leaf! But if you’re undecided, it’s time to pick a side. You can explicitly ban marijuana from your property just as you can ban cigarette smoking or cats and dogs. But, realize that doing so may decrease the size of your applicant pool. Remember, many people don’t use cannabis to get high; they use it medically to get through the day.
Of course, it’s not an entirely black and white issue – you might allow cannabis on your property but prohibit growing.
What to include in the lease
Once you decide where you stand, get all your legal ducks in a row. In other words, put your decision in the lease. If you want to ban pot altogether, indicate that. If you want to allow smoking but not growing, include a paragraph. If you decide to permit both, know that the electricity and water bills will increase – it’s best to make sure your tenant pays these and not you.
The world is changing and cannabis laws are changing with it. If you allow marijuana on your rental property, know the laws of your state and city and put everything in writing. If you want your property cannabis free, include that in the lease, as well. Doing the latter may affect your ability to rent or it may not – if you’re flexible on the issue, you’ll likely have more tenants from which to choose.
By Michaela Phillips, Guaranteed Rate, Inc. Michaela is the Vice President of Mortgage Lending at Guaranteed Rate, Inc. Contact Michaela at 303.579.5517, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit michaelaphillips.com. NMLS:312874.