September 12, 2019

Rental Properties and Pot—What Should Michigan Landlords Know?

Is It Getting High in Here? Rental Properties and Pot in Michigan

Are you feeling a landlord high, or is that your tenant smoking weed in your West Bloomfield rental property? 

As you probably already know, recreational marijuana is now legal in Michigan. For the first time, landlords must deal with the potential of tenants using pot—legallyin your West Bloomfield rental home.

We aren't going into the specifics of the new legalization laws—we also aren't providing legal advice about landlord-tenant rights or rules about handling a "weedy" situation that might come up with a tenant. However, we do want to join the conversation about how this change in the law can affect landlords and tenants. 

What Do You Do?

Deciding how to handle weed with your tenants isn't simple—but maybe we can simplify the overall issue. Let's take a look at what you might be thinking.

Do You Have to Let Tenants Smoke?

In short, no. 

Smoking tobacco is legal, but you don't have to allow tenants to smoke cigarettes in your home, either! Even though smoking marijuana is now legal, you don't have to allow it in your rental home. However, that doesn't mean you can keep tenants from using other forms of marijuana—like ediblesinside your rental home. 

Can They Grow It?

Growing marijuana is not part of the legal use of recreational weed. To legally grow marijuana in Michigan, growers need a license. Unless you plan on allowing your tenants to turn your rental property into their own small marijuana business, you probably shouldn't allow tenants to grow in your home.  

Can I Evict Tenants Who Use?

Before evicting a tenant for smoking weed in your rental property, go through the process of evaluating the need for eviction like you would with any other lease violation. 

With a change in the law like this, it's likely that your lease agreement now has some gray (or "smokey") areas about what tenants can and can't do in your investment property. Don't resort to eviction the minute you think you smell something suspicious! However, similar to what we mentioned above, you can always choose to list your property as a non-smoking residence.

Marijuana PlantCheck Your Lease Agreement

When laws or circumstances change, go back to what you know as a landlord and check what restrictions in your lease may already apply. You may also wish to consider updating your lease between tenants to account for changes in the law by engaging capable legal counsel.

Your job is to provide a safe living environment for your tenants. In exchange for a place to live, tenants must follow the rules of what is allowed inside your property. When you prepared your lease agreement, you included a section about the consequences of breaking the rules. These rules should include not engaging in any illegal activity. 

Now that using marijuana is no longer an illegal activity in Michigan, how does that affect the lease for your West Bloomfield investment property? Are tenants suddenly violating the lease agreement if they eat a marijuana brownie in your kitchen?

Again, we're not legal experts, but chances are you need some updates to your lease agreement with specifics regarding marijuana use. You also need to communicate such changes with your current tenants, should they be interested in renewing.

Don't Send Mixed Smoke Signals!

Your tenants are probably wondering what the new marijuana laws mean for them—and your property, too. Regardless of your tenants' feelings about weed, it's better to address the new situation proactively. Taking action reduces the risk of dealing with a house full of weed smoke during your tenant's move-out inspection

Provide written communication to your tenants that can include the following:

  1. Let your tenants know you're aware of the change in Michigan's marijuana law. 
  2. Ask your tenants if they have any questions about how this affects them or their lease. 
  3. Make them aware that you're reviewing all current lease agreements. 
  4. Remind them that you have a "no smoking" policy for all of your properties and all tenants must follow that rule. 

With this type of communication, you have additional time to consult with your lawyer and review lease agreements in light of the new laws. 

Smoke In The AirLegal Counsel Can Help You Through the "Weeds"

Always stay up to date with landlord-tenant laws in Michigan. Any time a law changes, it's good practice to check with your lawyer to find out how it affects you or your tenants. 

Let your lawyer guide you through the weeds of changing drug legislation and how it might affect you. Your lawyer can recommend changes to your lease agreements (if necessary) and help you work through situations with your tenants. 

Property Managers Don't Blow Smoke!

When it comes to protecting your property while providing a safe living environment for your tenants, expert property managers in West Bloomfield don't blow smoke. While we aren't a substitute for legal counsel, it's our job to know the laws and any changes that affect your investment properties under our care.

JMZ Property Management can communicate with your tenants, make necessary adjustments to lease agreements, and adjust the criteria for screening and selecting new tenants going forward. How do you find the best tenants for your property? What happens if you can't find any tenants?

Take advantage of our Guaranteed Rent program! JMZ property management offers this program to help relieve the financial burden of an empty rental property for our West Bloomfield investment property owners. While our screening process is thorough and efficient, we know it can take a while to find the next perfect tenant. 

If it takes more than 30 days for us to find said tenant, we manage your property for free—for three months. Even with an empty property for a short time, you'll have the best property management team working for you—and your success.

Topics: bad tenants, landlord tips, property manager tips and advice, rental property tips