Smoking cannabis and tobacco is legal in British Columbia. Landlords can ban smoking, vaping and the growing of cannabis plants in rental units. Tenants must comply with smoking and cannabis regulations during tenancy.
Landlords can require smoke and vape-free environments in rental units. This requirement must be stated in the tenancy agreement.
If the tenancy agreement does not include a no-smoking or no-vaping clause, tenants are allowed to smoke or vape in their units and on balconies.
Note: In some cases, buildings with no-smoking policies may still have existing residents who are allowed to smoke in the building because they have lived there before the policy was introduced.
While searching for housing, tenants should ask about smoking rules that apply to the entire building.
Tenancy agreements with a no-smoking clause pre-dating the legalization of non-medical cannabis on October 17, 2018, would include smoking cannabis as well. This clause would not apply to vaping cannabis.
It is legal to grow non-medical cannabis in B.C. However, landlords can restrict tenants from growing cannabis plants in or around rental units. The tenancy agreement should clearly state whether a tenant is permitted to grow cannabis plants.
Tenants who are permitted to grow cannabis in their rental unit should follow regulations around growing cannabis.
All tenancy agreements existing before the legalization of non-medical cannabis on October 17, 2018 are considered to include a term prohibiting growing cannabis in or around a rental unit, unless:
Tenants must comply with any rules set out in the tenancy agreement regarding smoking. If the agreement prohibits smoking on the rental property, smoking can only be done off the property.
Tenants who live in a multi-unit building, like an apartment or condominium cannot smoke or vape within 6 metres of openings connected to common areas. This includes:
If a tenancy agreement doesn't allow smoking and tenants smoke in the rental unit, they are breaching the agreement. Tenants may have to pay for smoking-related damage to the unit or the landlord can choose to end the tenancy.
Tenants are entitled to quiet enjoyment of their rental unit which includes freedom from unreasonable disturbances.
If a tenant believes excessive smoking is breaching their right to quiet enjoyment, they must prove that the smoke is ongoing and impacting their health and enjoyment of the rental unit.
If a tenant's right to quiet enjoyment is being breached as a result of smoke in the rental unit, the tenant should talk to the landlord about their concerns.
If the tenant talks to the landlord and the problem persists, the tenant can seek dispute resolution to resolve the issue. Dispute resolution is a process to help resolve conflicts between landlords and tenants.
Smoke-free policies can help reduce maintenance costs and reduce fire risks. Landlords have the right to designate a rental unit as smoke or vape-free in the tenancy agreement.
If the tenancy agreement has a no-smoking clause and a tenant smokes inside the unit, they have breached the agreement. In this instance, the landlord should communicate with the tenant to address concerns.
If the issue continues after talking to the tenant, the landlord can end the tenancy.
Tenants are financially responsible for smoke-related damage. If a landlord discovers smoke damage in a non-smoking building, they should talk to the tenant to address and repair the damage.
If the tenant does not address the damage in the unit, the landlord can seek dispute resolution for payment to address the damage.
Tenants have a right to quiet enjoyment in their rental units. In buildings that allow smoking, non-smoking tenants may raise concerns around smoking affecting their right to quiet enjoyment.
Landlords have a responsibility to address these issues. Failure to do so could lead to a tenant seeking dispute resolution.