When the provincial legislation will come into force, willing property owners will dispose of 3 months to add a cannabis smoking ban during the course of a tenants’ lease. As announced in March, Lucie Charlebois, Minister Responsible for Public Health, unveiled on May 17 her amendment to Bill 157.
This amendment is in response to CORPIQ's intervention at the parliamentary committee earlier this year, which called for this protection for revenue property owners wanting to avoid complaints from other tenants inconvenienced by the smoke.
However, a tenant may refuse the addition of this prohibition to the lease if their cannabis use is for therapeutic purposes. In this case, it will be up to the owner to file an application at the Régie du logement, which will then rule based on the legitimacy, or not, of the tenant's refusal, according to criteria to be determined by the court.
Coalition Avenir Québec has expressed its fears regarding tenants wanting to smoke cannabis that might abuse of this right of refusal because, while forcing owners to go to court, they would continue their activities pending the hearing at the Regie. Therefore, Lise Lavallée, MP for Repentigny, proposed that the application to the Régie du logement be filed by the tenant rather than by the lessor, which Minister Charlebois refused.
The CAQ MP tempted another proposal: that tenants be required to provide proof of their medical prescription for cannabis use alongside their refusal to modify the lease. Once again, the Minister refused, citing the tenant's right to privacy. The Liberal MPs and two members of the Parti Québecois, members of the parliamentary committee, also voted against the subamendment proposed by the CAQ.
The obligation to provide an attestation issued by an authority and to explain the tenants’ situation is not abusive under the circumstances, CORPIQ notes. As a matter of fact, article 1974 of the Civil Code of Quebec already provides for this type of obligation, in particular when a tenant, victim of violence, wants to terminate his/her lease within a two months' notice.
Bill no 157: An Act to constitute the Société québécoise du cannabis, to enact the Cannabis Regulation Act and to amend various highway safety-related provisions
May 17, 2018, Amendment concerning the addition of Article 86.2:
"By ____ (hereby indicate the date 90 days following the entry into force of section 1 of the law governing cannabis), a lessor can modify the conditions of the lease of a dwelling by adding a provision to ban cannabis smoking. For this purpose, the lessor provides the tenant with a notice of modification outlining the ban on smoking cannabis applicable to the use of the premises. The tenant can refuse this modification for medical reasons. He must then notify the landlord of his refusal within 30 days upon reception of the notice. In such a case, the lessor may apply to the Régie du logement within 30 days of receiving the notice of refusal to set the ruling on the modification of the lease. In the absence of refusal, the ban is deemed inscribed to the lease 30 days after the tenant received the notice of modification."