Pubdate: Tue, 27 Feb 2018
Source: Metro (Edmonton, CN AB)
Copyright: 2018 Metro Canada
Author: Kevin Maimann
Page: 4


Realtors and condo boards scramble to find solutions

Realtors and condo boards are sparking up conversations about pot as
legalization looms.

Anand Sharma, president and condominium manager with the Northern
Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute, said condo
corporations should start revising their rules if they haven't already
to prevent sticky situations when tenants start lighting up legally.

"The bottom line is people are going to have to seek legal counsel to
tighten up their bylaws or address some of these issues in their
bylaws," Sharma said.

"If they don't, then they risk a lot of conflict within the
condominium community and potential legal issues between unit owners
involving the condominium corporation."

Many condos allow smoking in units, and some have bylaws permitting
smoking on balconies, which could mostly extend to smoking marijuana.

Complications can arise with a condo board's duty to accommodate,
however, when a tenant in a non-smoking building has a prescription
for medicinal marijuana or when a neighbour has a cannabis allergy.

"This is a problem even in townhouse-style buildings from the late
'70s, early '80s, where some of the barriers between the units are not
very strong and the smell does definitely permeate, especially in
basements," Sharma said.

"So this is going to affect every type of multi-family housing
dwelling in the city."

The federal government's legalization framework gives condo boards the
power to change their bylaws, but the threshold for a bylaw change is
75 per cent support - which Sharma said can be hard to meet.

"You need time, and that's the key thing," he said.

Residents will be allowed to grow up to four plants at home, which
Sharma said raises concerns around utilities and extra use of water
and electricity.

Darcy Torhjelm, broker/ owner of Re/Max Real Estate in Stony Plain,
said home growing presents a host of problems and could lead to homes
being "stigmatized."

Torhjelm is concerned homeowners will use fertilizers and other
products to make their plants as potent as possible and may also use
extra light and heat for the growing process.

If not done properly, he said, that could lead to air quality

Torhjelm points to stories in the United States where some people have
started fires by improperly trying to extract oil from their marijuana

"You've got insurance companies that may or may not insure you once
they find out that your property has been stigmatized, even if it's
been remedied," Torhjelm said.

"If you don't get insurance, you can't get a mortgage. You don't get a
mortgage, you can't buy a house."

The Realtors Association of Edmonton will host a cannabis forum on
March 20 to discuss legalization issues in the real estate industry,
with a panel including members of Alberta Health Services, the City of
Edmonton, Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods and the Insurance
Bureau of Canada.

"We're just kind of initiating the discussion," Torhjelm said.
"There's a lot of questions out there, and we're trying to find answers."
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