Latest News

Pot problems

Legal weed could pose risk for home buyers, real estate association says

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

With the impending legalization of marijuana, the amount of people looking to grow the plant inside their home is set to skyrocket, and it could cause potential issues for anyone looking to buy a home, Ontario’s realtor association says.

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) recently released its Action Plan for Cannabis Legalization requesting the provincial government introduce a number of measures to ensure home buyers are protected from the potential risks created when people grow weed in their homes.

According to Dennis Roberts, the president of the Durham Region Association of Realtors (DRAR), the OREA plan is a good first step toward protecting future home buyers.

“We’re trying to make sure there’s some protections. Yes, we understand that marijuana is going to be legal and people are going to want to grow their own plants…but when these plants get quite large and if they’re being properly watered, the lighting and everything else can create a lot of humidity,” he says. “It could cause a lot of damage to the property.”

Issues with fungus, mould and even structural damage could result from the humidity and improper ventilation, and as it stands, if a person was to sell their home, there is no obligation for them to disclose they once grew marijuana there.

“It’s hard sometimes for the realtor or home inspector to see what’s been done and the damage,” Roberts says. “We want to be able to at least have the information for the buyer so that there’s no surprises.”

The plan from OREA proposes five policy changes, including requiring municipalities to register remediation work orders on the title of a former grow operation, mandate that all licensed home inspectors receive training on how to spot signs of former grow operations, and to restrict the number of plants that a home owner can grow from four to one in units 1,000 square feet or smaller. They are also looking for former grow operations to be designated as unsafe under the Building Code.

“It’s now legal to grow it and more people are going to start doing it now, we’ve got to have some measures in place so that if they’re going to do it, do it right, and make sure somebody is regulating and make sure somebody is watching to make sure it’s not causing damage to the house,” Roberts says. “Let’s say the property has changed hands, three or four or five times, and none of those people in the middle have ever grown marijuana, but maybe the first person did. At least there would be a record showing, okay it did have that in there, the buyer is aware of it and the work has been remediated and the house is safe.”

Marijuana is expected to made legal this summer. Originally scheduled for July 1, it appears the legalization date has been delayed to further in 2018.