Landlord Tenant Issues

Conflicting federal and state marijuana laws have created a variety of challenges for California’s residential landlords and property managers.

California Residential Cannabis Law and Practice

With the passage of Proposition 64 and its codification in California Health and Safety Code §11362 et seq, it is now legal under California state law to possess and consume marijuana. Adults 21 years and older may cultivate up to six living plants in their private residence and may possess up to 8 grams of concentrated and up to 28.5 grams of non-concentrated cannabis. These rules also apply to individuals residing in multifamily properties.

Landlords, however, have the right to prohibit their tenants from smoking tobacco and recreational marijuana in their rental properties and in common areas. Although tenants who use the drug for medicinal purposes have little legal recourse against a landlord who refuses a reasonable accommodation request, many courts are reluctant to evict sick and disabled individuals from their homes on this basis.

Action items for California residential landlords

If not already in place, residential landlords and property managers should consider inserting a non-smoking provision in their leases and imposing a strict no smoking policy for all common areas and individual units. In order to avoid future claims of discrimination and fair housing violations, and/or in the event of a conflict with or between tenants, landlords and property managers should familiarize themselves with changing laws, regulations, and new cases concerning residential marijuana use, nuisance, and the right to quiet enjoyment.

California real estate and tax law firm

Landlords must consider the impact of marijuana usage on their property, and if they plan to ban it they should make this clear in their rental agreements and building policies. The San Francisco real estate lawyers at Moskowitz, LLP can help. Contact our Cannabis Practice Group today.

Disclaimer: Growing, cultivating, and distributing marijuana are violations of federal law under the Controlled Substances Act, Title 21, Section 841(a)(1). The tax firm of Moskowitz, LLP can assist you in adhering to state and local law and regulations, and advise you on how to conduct your operations in a way that will minimize your risk of federal prosecution. However, we do not intend for our advice to assist you in the violation of any law and in light of the evolving nature of the marijuana industry in the U.S., clients must understand that our legal and tax services can guarantee neither success nor immunity from civil and/or criminal prosecution. In all areas where the legal landscape is constantly changing, we recommend that our clients act with caution, stay abreast of developments in the industry, and consult with us often.

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