The legalization of the recreational use of cannabis, which has been in effect since October 17, 2018, has several impacts on the rights and obligations of the parties to a residential lease in various ways. Here is a summary of the main impacts.
Legal prohibitions concerning dwellings
Cultivation: The Act prohibits the cultivation of cannabis for recreational use.
Possession: The Act prohibits the possession, in a single residence, of a total amount of cannabis for recreational use equivalent to more than 150 grams of dried cannabis, regardless of the number of occupants in the residence.
Common areas of residential buildings: The Act prohibits the smoking of cannabis in a number of places, including the common areas of residential buildings comprising two or more dwellings, and in the common areas of private seniors’ residences.
A closed smoking room where cannabis smoking is permitted may, however, be set up at such locations:
Clauses prohibiting cannabis smoking in dwellings
Just as for cigarette smoking, lessors will be allowed to include clauses in their new leases to prohibit the smoking of cannabis.
Lessee’s response to a notice of modification to a current lease (section 107 of the Cannabis Regulation Act)
Under section 107 of the Cannabis Regulation Act, a lessor had until January 15, 2019 to send the lessee a notice of modification to include, during the term of a lease, a clause prohibiting the smoking of cannabis.
However, the lessee may refuse the modification for MEDICAL REASONS. The lessee must do so by informing the lessor of the refusal within 30 days after receiving the notice of modification.
Application to the Régie: If the lessee refuses the modification, the lessor may file an application with the Régie, within 30 days after receiving the refusal, to modify the lease.
In the event that an application is filed with the Régie, the lessee will have to prove, to the tribunal’s satisfaction, that medical reasons justify the refusal (ex.: medical prescription).
Absence of a refusal: If the lessee does not notify the lessor of his or her refusal within the time prescribed, the lease is modified 30 days after the lessee receives the notice.
Problems with neighbours
Important! Secondary smoke, whether from smoking tobacco or cannabis, can sometimes bother the other occupants of a building.
Even if a lessee's lease gives him or her the right to smoke cannabis in the dwelling, the lessee is still required not to disturb the other lessees' enjoyment of the building. It is important to note that this obligation also applies in the case of cannabis used for therapeutic purposes.
Any lessee who disturbs the other lessees' enjoyment of the building may be liable to certain recourses by the lessor before the Régie du logement, including, possibly, a recourse for resiliation of the lease.