Area of Law: Cannabis Law
Answer # 2363
Can you smoke or vape cannabis in your apartment or rental unit?Region: Ontario Answer # 2363
The federal Cannabis Act does not govern the law regarding cannabis use and apartment rentals and tenants’ rights. This falls under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, and varies across the country.
In Ontario, if you are 19 years of age or older, and your lease or rental agreement does not prohibit smoking, you are allowed to smoke or vape in your private residence.
Can a landlord ban cannabis smoking or vaping?
Landlords have the right to prohibit new tenants from smoking cannabis or tobacco in their buildings. Ontario’s new standard form lease actually contains a separate section that allows the inclusion of a smoking ban. A tenant who rents a condominium unit must also follow any no-smoking rules imposed by the condominium corporation, even if their individual lease does not prohibit it.
However, landlords cannot force tenants who currently have a lease or agreement that does not contain a ban to stop smoking in their apartments.
What is a tenant’s responsibility?
Under the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, even if a tenant is not prohibited from smoking tobacco or cannabis in their lease, they do not have the right to interfere with what the Act calls the “reasonable enjoyment” of tenants in other units.
What can a landlord do if a tenant’s legal smoking bothers another tenant?
Under the Act, a landlord may apply to evict a tenant if the tenants smoking:
- interfers with the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants, or
- seriously impairs safety
A landlord may also apply to terminate a tenancy if a tenant’s smoking causes damage to the rental unit.
What to do if another tenant’s smoking is bothering you?
If smoking is allowed in your building, however, and another tenant’s second-hand smoke or vapour does interfere with your reasonable enjoyment or seriously impairs your safety, the first thing you should do is talk to your landlord. Landlords must do all they can to minimize smoke-related disturbance to tenants with sensitivities to cigarette or marijuana smoke. This can include:
- talk with the tenant who is causing the problem
- check the ventilation system to make sure it is working property
- seal and caulk cracks and gaps to lessen the smoke escaping
If the landlord is not able to resolve the problem, then you should contact the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Medical cannabis use protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code
Tenants who smoke medical marijuana for health reasons, even when smoking is otherwise prohibited, are protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, under the Code:
“Housing providers have a duty to accommodate the Code-related needs of tenants, to make sure that the housing they supply is designed to include people identified by Code grounds, and to take steps to remove any barriers that may exist, unless to do so would cause undue hardship.”
This “duty to accommodate” under the Code means that landlords also have a duty to accommodate the needs of tenants who may have a disability or health problem, such as a severe allergy, aggravated by exposure to smoke.
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