Over half of US realtors live in jurisdictions that allow medical or recreational marijuana – and this has potential impact on real estate transactions, says the NAR.
Oregon’s recent legalization of marijuana has pushed pot to the front page, and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) wants its members to be aware of the implications.
Panelists at the “Medical Marijuana Laws Impact all Real Estate Transactions” session on Saturday 8 Nov, at the REALTORS Conference & Expo, pushed to get agents up-to-date on the laws in their jurisdiction.
The NAR doesn’t have any official policy or position on the issue, but it’s highlighted the possible legal and financial implications. To date, 23 states have passed laws permitting the use of medical marijuana, 11 states permit limited possession and use, and three states allow recreational use. All of this contradicts federal law, which prohibits the use, possession or sale, of marijuana for any use. This leads to possible issues for landlords.
“While the legalization of marijuana has more obvious implications for residential and commercial property managers who have to deal with a variety of landlord-tenant issues, it’s also creating challenges for community and condominium associations and federally assisted rental housing,” said panelist Megan Booth, senior policy analyst for the National Association of Realtors®. She said that, as laws change, multifamily properties and condos could be required to add lease addendums or to modify association rules to clarify policies on marijuana.
The session saw panelists address areas of concern for residential owner-occupied properties and residential property management as well as commercial real estate.
Concerns include liability and disclosure issues for agents; property damage, including smoke and odors, mold from high humidity and even the possibility of explosions; and potential impact on neighbours.
Even where recreational marijuana use is illegal, owners and tenants often flout the law. Pauline Aunger, a Realtor® in Ottawa, and member of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), said that there were problems in Canada, where illegal growing operations in residential properties are becoming a common challenge for property owners and agents. Aunger said that realtors should disclose to potential buyers if a property was used for growing weed – and that if an agent suspects anything, they should ask questions of the seller.
By Francine Carrel, international property reporter, OPP