Real Estate

Condo boards can legally ban cannabis use

By Staff

Although cannabis is expected to be legalized this summer, condo dwellers shouldn’t count on being able to spark up in their homes, Toronto condominium lawyer Deborah Howden tells NOW magazine.

Legally, condo boards can draft a rule that would prohibit smoking cannabis in individual units as well as on balconies, says Howden, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP’s Toronto office.

She tells the magazine that under s. 58 of the Condominium Act, condo corporations can create new rules that “promote the safety, security or welfare of the owners, and prevent unreasonable interference,” but that medical marijuana users may be exempt under Ontario's Human Rights Code.

Howden says residents could regard the strong smell of second-hand smoke as a nuisance, and therefore a new rule restricting cannabis smoking could be reasonable.

While current provincial legislation prohibits smoking within indoor common areas in both condos and apartment buildings, earlier this month Ottawa Public Health recommended the province go one step further and ban smoking and vaping, both medicinally and recreationally, within all condos, apartments and balconies, the article says.

NOW reports that in Toronto, some condo boards are planning bans on smoking weed — both inside individual units and on balconies — despite the fact that personal residences are one of the few places where its use will be allowed under the proposed legislation.

Howden says she appreciates that there will be some condo residents who believe that once cannabis is legalized, they should be entitled to smoke within their own homes, but cautions that unlike buying a detached home, owning a condo comes with a different set of rules.

“People have to remember what they’ve bought,” she says. “When you’re a part of a condo community, you agree that everybody is going to be bound by the same rules so that everybody gets to enjoy the property in the same manner.”

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