Fraser Valley realtors say new rules needed to protect homebuyers from grow-ops

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With just a few months remaining before recreational marijuana is legalized in Canada, real estate agents in the Fraser Valley warn new regulations are needed around growing cannabis in homes.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) is calling on the provincial and federal governments to implement mandatory guidelines for buyers and sellers who choose to grow recreational pot.

Under the federal Liberals’ legalization legislation, individuals will be able to grow up to four cannabis plants in their homes.

The FVREB has launched a new campaign called “Safe Grow Homes,” and says there are still many unanswered questions for homeowners with the new pot regime fast approaching.

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The board warns that growing marijuana inside homes creates several potential health and safety concerns, including mould buildup, fire and electrical hazards, air quality concerns and possible unsafe structural changes.

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Growing a single pot plant, it argues, can create the equivalent moisture of five to seven house plants.

The group is pushing for action from governments on three fronts.

It wants more detail on requirements for those home-growing pot, a province-wide database with the status of illegal grow homes and a clear process outlining how unsafe grow homes can be restored.

“If a consumer is going to buy a home that’s grown cannabis — whether it’s recreationally or illegally — there can be things in that home that need to be done that make it safe to live in,” FVREB president-elect Darin Germyn said.

“Someone would go in and remediate and make sure that it is safe to inhabit and make sure that it’s safe in terms of breathing air and things like that.”

Germyn added that agents also have serious concerns about how home-growing pot could affect banks’ appraisals of potential sales.

“We’d certainly like to know how the government as well as the banks will address lending on homes like that.”

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Earlier this year, the B.C. Real Estate Association outlined similar concerns, also calling for a centralized hub of information for the drug history of homes.

The Ontario real estate industry has also raised concerns of its own, calling on the province to further restrict the number of plants that can be grown in smaller units.

The Ministry of Public Safety said it is not available for comment at this time.

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