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Residential property owners have legal authority to make their properties and premises smoke free. A provision has been added to the Residential Tenancies Act to specifically provide that if a tenancy agreement entered into before the day Bill 6 received assent (June 1, 2018) restricts the smoking of tobacco, then that same restriction applies to the smoking of cannabis.
Yes. Landlords have the ability to set rules to protect the health and safety of their residents and protect their property as long as the rules and any related terms of the tenancy agreement do not conflict with federal or territorial laws. Adopting smoke-free rules is similar to adopting no-pets or no-barbeques rules.
Can landlords change existing leases with their tenants to put new rules in place about smoking and growing cannabis on their properties?
Smoke-free clauses can be included at the start of a new tenancy agreement or added to an existing tenancy agreement if the landlord and tenant agree in writing to an amendment. If a tenancy agreement made prior to June 1, 2018 (the day of assent for f Bill 6) prohibits the smoking of tobacco products but is silent on the smoking of cannabis, it will be considered to also prohibit the smoking of cannabis.
As a result of an amendment added to the Residential Tenancies Act by Bill 6, a landlord now has the authority to notify a tenant in writing that cultivation is prohibited in a rental premises even if the existing lease does not deal with this.
If a tenant has repeatedly breached smoke-free rules contained in a tenancy agreement, and approaching the tenant directly has not resolved the issue, the landlord may give the tenant at least 10 days’ written notice to terminate the tenancy agreement. If the tenant refuses to leave, the landlord may make an application to a rental officer asking for an eviction order.
Under the Federal Cannabis Act adults will be able to grow up to four plants at their place of residence for personal use. There cannot be more than four plants, no matter how many adults live in the home.
A landlord that wishes to restrict the growing of cannabis in a rental unit can include a clause in the tenancy agreement stipulating this limitation, or notify a tenant in writing. As a result of an amendment added to the Residential Tenancies Act by Bill 6, a landlord now has the authority to notify a tenant in writing that cultivation is prohibited in a rental premises even if the existing lease does not deal with that issue.
If a building is smoke-free, does this apply to balconies, common areas, or anywhere elsewhere on the property?
Landlords may ban smoking in all or part of the building. Tenants who want to live in a building where smoking is prohibited in all areas (e.g. units, common areas, outdoor balconies and patios) should make sure that this is the case in their discussions with their prospective landlord, and should check that it is included in their tenancy agreement.
Generally, the same prohibitions and rules that apply to recreational cannabis users will also apply to medical cannabis users. Tenants who have a prescription for medical cannabis and who live in smoke-free buildings should explore mutually agreeable options with their landlords.
Currently, e-cigarettes and related devices are not regulated in the NWT. The Department of Health and Social Services is currently considering amendments to the Tobacco Control Act that would address regulation of these devices. The use of these devices could however be dealt with in a tenancy agreement.