This year, Colorado and Washington made a few changes to the way we view the purchase and possession of marijuana. Marijuana is now taxed and regulated just like alcohol, which means there are some important implications to consider, especially if you are a landlord.
We receive calls from landlords who ask “How Can I Protect Myself From Tenants Growing Marijuana”? We’ve researched ways you can try to prevent damage to your investment property, and what to do when you do have damage from a tenant who is growing marijuana.
Colorado residents can now legally grow up to six marijuana plants in their residences, which means more inexperienced people are trying to grow their own plants, and sometimes causing fires. Additionally, the odor that results from the use of marijuana can turn away future tenants and cause a decrease in the value of your property. Learn how to protect yourself and notice the signs of a potential growing operation.
Neither Colorado nor Washington law says landlords cannot ban smoking indoors. A landlord can ban smoking indoors and stipulate that production and distribution of drugs is a violation of the lease.
In fact, Amendment 64, which sets the law for personal growing and consumption, also states that “Property owners may prohibit or otherwise regulate the possession, consumption, use, and growth of marijuana on their property.“ Make sure you write this into the lease when renting a property. The standard federal drug-free lease addendum should suffice. This addendum should work even if the laws change.
Regardless of state law, recreational use of marijuana is still illegal on a federal level. As a landlord, if you know drugs are being produced or distributed on your property, you could have to forfeit your property.
Negative Effects on Your Property
Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t have to pay claims for damages that result from illegal activity. If your tenant causes a fire because of their “do it yourself” lighting system designed for growing marijuana, you typically will not be able to file a claim.
Marijuana growers are typically not electricians. They do not have the years of experience required to make sure a property has proper wiring and that excess electricity is routed correctly. This can cause fires, resulting in major damage to your property or even cause a total loss. If you have a chance, check your property for unsafe wiring, over-sized fusing or damaged fixtures.
Growing marijuana indoors could lead to mold issues. Apartments were not meant to be greenhouses, and as such, are not ventilated for growing operations, causing humidity to build up in the property. Check for mold on the interior of the property, the attic, and/or crawlspace. You’ll also want to check to see if your chimney mortar is deteriorating from any venting operations.
Dealing with the Aftermath
Chances are that you have a tenant that was in the middle of their lease when the new marijuana laws were passed. It’s possible you may not have included an addendum and are left with a property that has been used for growing marijuana. Being aware of signs of unfavorable tenant behavior could help prevent serious property damage that may include mold or fire damage. If you need help restoring your property, it’s time to call in the experts.
You can count on Professional Restoration to Respond, Recover and Restore your home back to order. If you see visible damage to your property, call on our experienced team to schedule a free estimate 303-922-4001