Kingston tenants threatened with lease termination if they grow pot post-legalization
A Kingston property management company says it will seek to terminate the leases of any tenants who grow marijuana in their apartments, even after it’s legalized on Oct. 17.
Homestead Land Holdings Ltd. informed its tenants of the new rule in a letter dated June 25.
After the federal government passed legislation in June paving the way for the legalization of marijuana, many tenants in Kingston believed they would be able to consume and grow cannabis in the privacy of their homes, as it was described in the legislation.
The new law allows people to grow up to four marijuana plants at home.
But the letter from Homestead has left the tenants concerned.
“If there are human rights code issues where the cultivation and growing of cannabis is deemed necessary to accommodate the needs of a tenant or occupant of the rented premises, such activity shall not be conducted at the rented premises or the residential complex,” said Homestead Land Holdings Ltd in a letter sent out to tenants on June 25.
One of Homestead’s tenants is Dianna Donnelly, and she says she was initially thrilled by the federal announcement of legalizing cannabis and the ability to grow four plants in her home, but when she received the letter she felt helpless.
“Patients are allowed to grow regardless of the landlord knowing because I know patients are growing all over Kingston and all over Canada, and landlords don’t know. That means there’s no risk involved, no damage, and no neighbours are being inconvenienced,” said Donnelly.
Lawyer John Done says over the past few days local attorneys have been busy responding to tenants asking for legal advice after receiving the Homestead letter. According to Done, Homestead doesn’t have the right to prohibit growing of legal marijuana plants in their buildings.
“They can’t say that. They can’t decide what accommodation is. The duty to accommodate is provided by law and the human rights code has what we call quasi-constitutional status because it’s not like any other law, it’s important and can be enforced — those are tenants rights,” said Done.
The province and the municipality will have some input on specific cannabis rules.
Homestead’s CEO Alfred Hendry told CKWS News that the company is doing what it believes is allowed under the federal legislation, but did not give any further comment.
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