Potential Liability For Landlords That Condone Marijuana
By DANIEL BORNSTEIN, ESQ.
In a free society, everyone has the prerogative to do what they enjoy, so long as it is legal and does not interfere with the rights of others. To paraphrase the words of one Supreme Court justice, your right to swing your fist ends where someone else’s nose begins.
In an earlier article, we noted that marijuana use and cultivation can interfere with the enjoyment of other tenants and landlords can take proactive action to address the nuisance.
However, we know there are two sides of the coin and many rental property owners supported the efforts to legalize marijuana, and we wanted to write to this group. For landlords that are not concerned about tenants using or cultivating marijuana within your rental units, we want to remind you of yet another initiative, namely Proposition 65, also called the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. Enacted in 1986, it was designed to help Californians make informed decisions about protecting themselves from harmful chemicals.
Prop 65 requires businesses to warn about exposure to carcinogens, and marijuana is one such agent - in 2009, it was added to the list of chemicals that cause cancer.
If you are tolerant of marijuana smoking within your rental units, you face big time penalties if you do not give proper warnings under Prop 65. One tenant’s enjoyment of marijuana may be to the detriment of another tenant.
At Bornstein Law, we remain neutral on this topic. The democratic process has played itself out, but we want to remind landlords that there are checks on the legalization of marijuana and serious liability if nuisance issues go unaddressed.
We do not pass judgment on choices, nor is it our role to evaluate the merits of the Bill. Our job, rather, is to manage relationships and protect your rental business irrespective on your stance of legalized marijuana. With proper counsel, nuisance issues can be avoided and resolved, rectified and liabilities reduced.
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As the founding attorney of Bornstein Law, Broker of Record for Bay Property Group and expert witness, Daniel Bornstein is a foremost and well-respected expert in landlord-tenant disputes and other property management issues with over 23 years of experience in handling real estate and civil litigation related disputes in and throughout the Bay Area. More than a litigator, Daniel manages rental properties, assists in completing real estate transactions and is well known for his educational seminars. He is always eager to answer questions and engage with Bay Area landlords, property owners and real estate professionals. Email him today.