Renters and homeowners opinions mixed on cannabis legalization

Oct 16 2018, 1:05 am

With the legalization of cannabis in Canada just one day away, Zoocasa has released the results of a national public survey meant to gauge public sentiment around how cannabis legalization in Canada will impact the real estate industry including homeowners, prospective buyers, renters and landlords.

In a release, Zoocasa said that while “while the future may be green, just how legal cannabis will impact the real estate industry – including homeowners, prospective buyers, renters and landlords –remains one big grey area.”

The reason for this, they said, is that despite the the drug’s newly-minted legal status, questions linger over how personal use and cultivation may impact the value, desirability, and even the insurable status of homes for sale.

Behind closed doors

According to the survey data, most Canadians feel that smoking cannabis inside their homes is a generally bad idea.

A full 64% of those who indicated they were homeowners felt doing so would harm its resale value, an increase from the 39% who indicated as such in Zoocasa’s previous Housing Trends Report.

As well, over half of homeowners – 57% – felt that growing even the legal amount of cannabis (up to four plants under the Cannabis Act), would have a negative impact on a home’s value.


This stigma extends to prospective home buyers, too: A total of 52% respondents say they’d be less likely to consider specific houses for sale if they knew even a legal amount of cannabis had been grown in them. other additional findings included:

  • 57% of homeowners feel that cultivating even a legal amount of cannabis inside a
    home will negatively impact the home’s resale value; 26% disagree, while 18% are
  • Of homeowners who agree home cultivation would harm home values, only 6%
    would take the risk of doing so. However, of the of respondents who rent and
    indicated they felt home cultivation would negatively impact values, 19% said
    they would still consider home cultivation.
  • 64% of respondents who indicated they are homeowners believe smoking
    cannabis inside the home will devalue it; 21% of respondents agree, while 15% are
  • In contrast, 46% of respondents who indicated they are renters agree smoking
    cannabis would devalue their unit; 33% disagree, while 20% are neutral.
  • 15% of all respondents indicated they would consider home cannabis cultivation.
  •  Millennials are demographically least likely to consider home cultivation
    stigmatizing, with only 38% indicating that a legal amount of cannabis grown in a
    home would reduce their desire to buy that property, compared to 58% of Gen
    Xers and 59% of Boomers.

‘Not in my backyard’

While Bill C-45 is federal legislation, the retail distribution of cannabis – whether via a physical outlet or online source – is under the jurisdiction of the individual provinces.

While this means Canadians will now be able to purchase the drug legally from a provincially-regulated retailer, homeowners aren’t exactly welcoming dispensaries to the neighbourhood with open arms.

In fact, Zoocasa said its findings reveal nearly half of all respondents (42%) feel having a cannabis dispensary in the neighbourhood would harm the value of nearby homes.

As well, 48% of respondents stated the presence of a dispensary nearby would reduce their desire to purchase a specific property.

However, those who already live by a local dispensary (16% of all respondents) are more likely to be comfortable with the presence of one (58%).


By contrast, of those who don’t currently live close to a dispensary or are not sure if there is a dispensary nearby (84% of all respondents), 54% feel strongly that they would not be comfortable with one coming to their neighbourhood.

These sentiments appear to be cannabis specific, however – only 14% of all respondents stated they would feel uncomfortable with a new liquor store opening in their neighbourhood. Some of the other findings in this aspect of the study include:

  • 42% of all respondents say having a cannabis dispensary in the neighbourhood
    would reduce nearby home values; 34% disagree, while 23% are neutral.
  • Only 11% of all respondents feel a new liquor store would reduce the value of
    nearby homes; 63% disagree, with 26% neutral.
  • 58% of respondents who currently live close to a dispensary are comfortable with
    its presence. Of those respondents, 71% of respondents who currently live close to
    a liquor store are comfortable having that store in their proximity.
  • 54% of respondents who do not currently live close to a dispensary would be
    uncomfortable with one opening nearby, while 26% would feel comfortable, and 20% are neutral.
  • Out of respondents who do not currently live near a liquor store,
    only 29% are uncomfortable with having a liquor store in the neighbourhood,
    while 34% would be comfortable, and 37% are neutral.
  • Millennials are least likely to be pessimistic about the presence of a dispensary,
    with only 31% indicating they’d feel a dispensary would reduce the value of
    homes nearby, compared to 50% of Xers and 47% of Boomers.

High-Rise Challenges

One of the most hotly debated pre-legalization topics is whether those who live in close proximity to their neighbours – such as condo unit owners and renters – should have the same ability to consume cannabis as those who live in detached homes, as condo boards and rental management have fought to control or ban use prior to legalization.

In this regard, Zoocasa said that according to the survey, the majority of Canadians aren’t in favour of condo or apartment consumption, with 61% of all respondents disagreeing residents should be able to smoke cannabis within their units, and 64% believing boards and property managers should be able to ban the drug’s use in residents’ units.

However, when it came to understanding what those consumption and cultivation rights actually are, renters are less clear: just 32% of tenants polled say they don’t know, while an additional 32% say they’re unsure, with only 36% stating they understand their home cannabis consumption rights.


In comparison, 67% of landlords agreed they understand their rights regarding what can and can’t be enforced when it comes to tenants smoking or cultivating the drug on their property.

As well, refraining from smoking within a rental unit appears to pay off: 65% of landlords say they would consider lowering rent for tenants who do not smoke cannabis. Other findings on this end of the survey included:

  • Of those who indicated they are renters, 35% agree that tenants should be able to
    smoke cannabis inside their homes; 46% do not agree, while 19% are neutral.
  • 88% of those who indicated they are landlords said they want, or plan, to ban
    smoking within their rental properties; 7% do not want to or plan to, while 5% are neutral.
  • 13% of renters who currently smoke cannabis inside their homes (whether it’s a
    few times a year to daily) say they would be willing to pay a higher rent for the
    ability to smoke in their homes; 74% would not be willing to, while 13% are neutral.
  • 47% of landlords say they plan to, or would want to, charge higher rent due to
    cannabis smoking becoming legal; 24% do not plan to or want to, while 29% are neutral.
  • 43% of renters who do not smoke cannabis feel landlords should lower rent for
    tenants who don’t smoke in their homes; 65% of landlords would actually
    consider doing this, while 27% of landlords would not, and 7% are neutral.

The findings are based on an online survey conducted by from Sep 27, 2018 to Oct 3, 2018 of over 1,380 respondents who live in Canada.

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