Home Front: Pot's potential legalization is growing concern for area's landlords

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by oltex, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. Home Front: Pot's potential legalization is growing concern for area's landlords
    Jim Wasserman / Aug. 6, 2010

    Landlords across Sacramento are waking up to the idea that possessing and growing marijuana in rentals may become legal after November's elections.

    They're asking: What then? What's the game plan when a tenant sets aside 25 square feet in the backyard or inside the house to grow pot? Can the owner say no? Does the tenant have to ask?

    It's a debate beginning in apartment and housing industry forums. Landlords, property managers and homeowners associations are asking about implications of legal pot cultivation on their properties.

    For instance, can the board of a homeowners' association – essentially a private government – vote not to allow residents to grow it? Will a real estate agent have to disclose that vote to a prospective buyer?

    The ballot measure, Proposition 19, would allow Californians to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, smoke it in private, or at publicly designated locations, and grow it at home. Proposition 19 also allows government to tax pot.

    At first glance, the November ballot initiative isn't entirely clear about rules for tenants and landlords. It states simply that growing marijuana for personal use in a rental "may be subject to approval from the owner of the property." Opponents such as Public Safety First cite uncertain language as another argument to reject a "poorly-written" measure.

    Proposition 19 backers say they assume tenants will need permission to grow on rental property. Campaign strategist Dan Newman likened it to owning a dog. Dogs are legal. But landlords don't have to allow them.

    Dale Gieringer, director of California's chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said Proposition 19 will continue a pattern established by medicinal marijuana users and growers. He said, "The experience is the landlord makes the rules."
    Homeowners' associations also make rules, he said. "There have been HOA boards that limited medicinal marijuana smoking in public areas, and cultivation as well," he said, adding that as far as he knows, none of these restrictions has been challenged in court.

    The rental industry isn't so sure about what Proposition 19 means. Groups addressing legal cultivation this month include the Rental Housing Association of the Sacramento Valley and California Apartment Association. "We want to get a sense of how members are going to deal with it. What is your policy going to be if it passes?" said RHA senior executive Cory Koehler. "We're hearing a lot of comments about the fact that you could have tenants setting up shop in their apartments," said Debra Carlton, CAA's senior executive for public affairs. "They're asking if we're talking about potential sales and more traffic. Home businesses are always an issue." Carlton isn't sure yet about a CAA position but senses the association is leaning toward opposition.

    Davis landlord Jim Burkhouse said he "wouldn't want tenants selling or using marijuana in the rentals." Sacramento property manager Bruce Mills said legalization might finally make life easier for an industry trapped amid conflicting state and federal laws regarding medicinal marijuana. Mills manages 1,500 houses and duplexes as owner of M&M Properties. He said he can't check them all.

    "If they make it legal to grow, it becomes a nonissue," he said. " If it passes, I'll just have to go with it."
  2. (ii) Cultivate, on private property by the owner, lawful occupant, or other lawful resident or guest of the private property owner or lawful occupant, cannabis plants for personal consumption only, in an area of not more than twenty-five square feet per private residence or, in the absence of any residence, the parcel. Cultivation on leased or rented property may be subject to approval from the owner of the property. Provided that, nothing in this section shall permit unlawful or unlicensed cultivation of cannabis on any public lands.

    Landlords can refuse the cultivation of cannabis on their property but cannot refuse the use of marijuana for people over 21. We see from this that it might be a good idea for everyone to at least read the proposition before getting all heated up about what might happen.
  3. I'm not an expert on law, but I have to imagine if Prop 19 passes then *indoor* marijuana cultivation shouldn't be treated differently than any other plant. Granted, current laws prohibit renters from planting large trees or giant shrubbery, etc outside your resident, but if I have a potted plant indoors, it shouldn't make a difference whether it's a pot plant, or an African bullfart tree(i made that one up).

    However, outdoor cannabis cultivation does bring up an interesting arguement that if neglected, outdoor plants open up the possibility of kids grabbing buds off the plant. Granted, children should not be stealing/vandalizing plants on other peoples property, but anyone who actually had a childhood can relate that kids love doing stupid shit. I can imagine cities putting in "mandatory fences" ordinance for properties with outdoor marijuana cultivation.
  4. Since the proposition gives the right to refuse cultivation of cannabis on rented property,I guess it would have to be decided in court. If my landlord refused to allow me to grow my own,I would find a landlord that didn't. The property owner has every right to disallow grows on his property according to Prop 19.

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