The Dwelling


The legalization of the recreational use of cannabis, which has been in effect since October 17, 2018, has several impacts on the rights and obligations of the parties to a residential lease in various ways. Here is a summary of the main impacts.

Legal prohibitions concerning dwellings

Cultivation: The Act prohibits the cultivation of cannabis for recreational use.

Possession: The Act prohibits the possession, in a single residence, of a total amount of cannabis for recreational use equivalent to more than 150 grams of dried cannabis, regardless of the number of occupants in the residence.

Common areas of residential buildings: The Act prohibits the smoking of cannabis in a number of places, including the common areas of residential buildings comprising two or more dwellings, and in the common areas of private seniors’ residences.

A closed smoking room where cannabis smoking is permitted may, however, be set up at such locations:

Clauses prohibiting cannabis smoking in dwellings

Just as for cigarette smoking, lessors will be allowed to include clauses in their new leases to prohibit the smoking of cannabis.

Application to the Tribunal to modify a current lease (article 107 of the Cannabis Regulation Act)

Under article 107 of the Cannabis Regulation Act, a lessor had until January 15, 2019, to send the lessee a notice of modification to include, during the term of the lease, a clause prohibiting the smoking of cannabis.

The lessee then had 30 days after receiving that notice to refuse the modification of the lease for medical reasons. In the absence of a refusal, the lease is deemed to have been modified 30 days after receipt of the notice by the lessee.

Application filed with the Régie du logement (Tribunal administratif du logement): A lessor who is notified of a lessee’s refusal may, within 30 days of receiving the response, file an application with the Tribunal to modify the lease.

When such an application is filed, the parties are summoned to a hearing and the lessee must demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Tribunal, the medical reasons justifying the refusal (e.g. medical prescription).

If a lessor does not modify the existing lease under section 107 of the Cannabis Regulation Act within the time limit provided for in that section, the lessor must, in order to add a clause to prohibit the smoking of cannabis, give the lessee a notice of modification within the time period prescribed by law.

For more information, refer to the Changing a condition of the lease section.

When the Tribunal is seized of an application regarding a prohibition against smoking cannabis and the lessee objects to the prohibition, it must consider, among other things, the consequences of failing to comply with the prohibition with respect to the peaceful enjoyment of the premises by the other occupants of the immovable and, where applicable, that the lessee is duly authorized to possess cannabis for medical purposes.

Problems with neighbours

Important! Secondary smoke, whether from smoking tobacco or cannabis, can sometimes bother the other occupants of a building.

Even if a lessee's lease gives him or her the right to smoke cannabis in the dwelling, the lessee is still required not to disturb the other lessees' enjoyment of the building. It is important to note that this obligation also applies in the case of cannabis used for therapeutic purposes.

Any lessee who disturbs the other lessees' enjoyment of the building may be liable to certain recourses by the lessor before the Tribunal administratif du logement, including, possibly, a recourse for resiliation of the lease.