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Cannabis Control Act and the Residential Tenancies Act

Landlords in Nova Scotia have the authority to amend existing leases to put new rules in place about recreational cannabis smoking and cultivation. Landlords have one year to amend leases. They must provide tenants four months’ written notice of these changes before April 30, 2019.

When the landlord provides this notice, the tenant may then decide whether they want to terminate the lease. The tenant has one month to decide. If they want to terminate the lease, they have to give the landlord three months’ written notice using the following form: Tenant’s Notice to Quit - Early Termination of Tenancy Due to Cannabis Rules.

Landlords who implement rules regarding the smoking and/or cultivation of recreational cannabis in premises are required to ensure:

  • rules only apply to the smoking and/or cultivation of recreational cannabis
  • tenants are given 4 months’ notice of the new rules
  • the notice must be in writing
  • the notice must be served on all tenants by personal service or registered mail
  • the new rules must comply with section 9A of the Residential Tenancies Act, for example:
    • it applies to all tenants in a fair manner
    • it is expressed to inform the tenant of what the tenant must or must not do to comply with the rule

For example:

A landlord wants to implement new rules on smoking and/or cultivation of recreational cannabis to be effective September 1, 2018. The landlord is required to provide 4 months’ written notice to tenants on or before April 30, 2018.  The months of May, June, July and August represent the 4 months’ notice required.

Tenants who decide to terminate the lease after receiving notice from the landlord about new rules regarding smoking and/or cultivation of recreational cannabis are required to ensure:

For Example:

A tenant receives a notice advising them of a rule change regarding cannabis on April 30, 2018. To terminate their lease, the tenant must serve their landlord with a 3 months’ written notice, on or before May 30, 2018. The 3 months’ notice would have a termination date of August 31, 2018. The months of June, July and August represent the 3 months’ notice required.

Tenants cannot use this form after May 30, 2019. Tenants who wish to terminate their tenancy must use the existing process under the Residential Tenancies Act (Form C – Tenant’s Notice to Quit.)

Options for Co-Tenants (Roommates)

When a Notice to Quit is served on the landlord and all co-tenants, the tenancy agreement is terminated for all tenants as indicated on the Notice to Quit.

Co-tenants may enter into a new tenancy agreement which the landlord cannot unreasonably deny. If a new lease is not arranged, all co-tenants must vacate the premise on the date of termination.

Landlords wanting to implement new rules unrelated to Cannabis are required to ensure:

  •  they are done in accordance with section 9A of the Residential Tenancies Act 
  • Section 9A says that rules can be implemented/changed upon 4 months’ notice in writing and served on tenant by in person or registered mail prior to a tenant’s anniversary date. The anniversary date is the date the tenancy starts as indicated on the lease, typically the first or end of the month

Additional Information

  • Rule changes for new leases require no notice. Landlords should give a copy of the rules to tenants before they sign a lease. If tenants do not receive a copy of the rules, tenants should ask if there are any other additional rules before signing a lease
  • The Smoke-free Places Actapplies to tobacco and cannabis
  • Landlords may allow smoking of tobacco while prohibiting the smoking of cannabis. This must be specifically stated in rules made under section 9A of the Residential Tenancies Act
  • Enforcement:
    • Violations under the Residential Tenancies Act or a lease agreement, including rules, are determined through a hearing under the Residential Tenancies Program.  Please see the process for hearings.
    • Infractions under the Smoke-free Places Act are enforced by Department of Environment