Pot growers in rental: Opinion? (yes I am in Colorado)

87 Replies

The newest trend sweeping the rental market (from my perspective) in Colorado is that many tenants want the right to grow pot in the unit. I can see downsides and upsides.

Downs: messy, elevated risk of break-ins and illegal activities, bad for neighborhood, possible need for electical/HVAC upgrades (paid by tenant)

Ups: tenant will stay for a while and probably be on best behavior, higher security deposit, won't have trouble making rent payment, wont easily be able to move

Has anyone had any experience renting to LEGITIMATE small scale legal growers (not boys who think they know what they are doing)? By small scale, I mean fewer than say 100 plants. 

Has anyone rented to growers and if so, what kinds of clauses did you put in the lease to protect yourself, if any? Did you have any issues with damage to the unit?

Help is appreciated as I have now had 3 prospective tenants asking for this right and I am on the fence about renting to them.

I know our first instinct as landlords is to say NO WAY, but I want to think a little more deeply about it as this might be a good way to drive a premium rent for the privilege with little risk. So my intention is to explore the possibility. 

@Bill Coleman  

If it is a tenant growing a single plant for their own "medical" use {as it use to be in this country}, then you can probably work with them to accommodate

If it is someone planning to be a grower for a dispensary or other medical users, then you better add moisture damage and mould to your list of negatives.   Relatively high heat & humidity is the environment they will create to grow marijuana indoors.

1(506) 471-4126

Outdoor / greenhouse, maybe.  Indoor, be really really careful you may incur lots of damage, have your house burned down, etc.

100 plants outdoor is not small time at all, could be a million dollar per year take, that brings with it a lot of crazy risks and attention.  Also 100 plants would be illegal in every county I think.  At 100 plants, you get federal attention and the property could be seized.

What county are you in?

I haven't done it but what is in the news in RI is the breakins to houses where medical marijuana is grown.   I   have one house where I suspect they are going to move into the medical marijuana growing for their own use.   I haven't seen it yet and it is not allowed in the lease but I suspect on renewal they are going to ask (although per RI law it doesn't look like they have to).   My concern would be how does this relate to federal law,  how well is the house suited for the activity (privacy, basement ,  etc).  And how hard would they be to get rid of if it doesn't work out.   Curious to what others have found. 

Just make sure that you are not responsible for the electrical bill.  It could easily triple. Also, if this is being done inside the house [versus an area in garage or a shed] find out what their watering system is to prevent water damage.  

"find out what their watering system is to prevent water damage."

This is part of the complexity.  If you investigate exactly what they are doing, and they are not following ordinances, you may be liable.  If you don't know what they are doing exactly, they may destroy your property.

The properties are in Adams county and the guys want to grow about 30-40 plants which is legal and he has a license as a caregiver. They grow hydroponic so there is water. They use tables which tend to be really clean. He says he has grown for 12 years and knows what he is doing. The room is in the basement and has no windows. 

I will not be paying for electricity for sure! 

I see what you mean about fire risk. Risk of property seizure is ominous. They would have to be growing and distributing at a very high level to gain that kind of exposure. There are so many low level growers in this state that I doubt that it will be an issue. 

I'm glad I asked the BP group but I am also almost not glad because you all bring up lots of good topics to ponder.

I would ask for an extra amount of money for a deposit to be specifically applied to any humidity damage from the grow process.  In my experience, even when legal, growers tend to keep their homes clean, don't have wild parties and will pay their rent before anything else [ plants not easy to transport] And if you're lucky, at Christmas he will give you something a little better than an 'I Love My landlord" t-shirt.

oh, and growers do NOT tell the world they are growing.  

Another thing that popped into my head is that of insurance: if the tenant burns down the house and it's clearly a result of growing pot, will the insurance company deny the claim?

oh, and growers do NOT tell the world they are growing.  If he has been growing for 12 years than the man knows what he is doing.  Will you please ask him if he will be growing anything similar to "Charlottes Web"?  My sons' caregiver of 7 years recently moved to, of all places, Belize.

"The room is in the basement and has no windows."

Sounds like it's going to be hard to pull off ventilation -- the output of an air filtration system needs to go somewhere.

I would ask for an extra amount of money for a deposit to be specifically applied to any humidity damage from the grow process.  In my experience, even when legal, growers tend to keep their homes clean, don't have wild parties and will pay their rent before anything else [ plants not easy to transport] And if you're lucky, at Christmas he will give you something a little better than an 'I Love My landlord" t-shirt.

The feds will NOT go after a small time grower, especially one who is a caregiver for sick people. And, since he knows what he is doing, there will be no fire hazard either.

To me, the long-time caregivers are my heroes. Back during the time when it was dangerous to be a caregiver, they were the ones who took a chance of losing everything to alleviate the suffering of many people in excruciating pain. As far as I am concerned, they saved my kids' life.

And no,I do not personally use cannabis in any form. 

If he has been growing for 12 years he will use an air filtration system.

@Bill Coleman  

If they are to grow in the basement, then you will need to work with them to construct a purpose built room - preferably one with a vapour barrier between it and the rest of the house and with its own air intake and exhaust.  If the house has a forced air furnace, you will want to make certain it does not deliver nor draw air from the grow room.

Without these types of measures, the amount of humidity introduced by hydroponically growing 30 - 40 plants continuously over time will cause damage to any stick-built home.  Furthermore, marijuana has a very prominent and distinct oder which will permeate the house and can be rather difficult to remove.

1(506) 471-4126

"he will use an air filtration system."

Venting where, and how, without windows?  Also, I am not sure why you'd make that assumption based on a claim, which may or may not be true, that the person is experienced.  Assumptions could be very, very bad in this context.

A 12 year grower will know ALL of this.  And yes, unless you have some weird type of federal government insurance [does that exist?] any damage would be covered by insurance [though he would most likely prefer to pay it out of his own pocket to prevent anyone from finding out and breaking in]

"He says he has grown for 12 years and knows what he is doing."

@Vicki Gleitz  People say a lot of things.  They aren't always true.

And on the insurance question, if you have first-hand knowledge of illegal activities (federally speaking) and use of a property for other then which you are insured (habitation) and are allowing this explicitly, there are many policies that could attempt to deny your claim.  Many insurance companies have denied claims for less.  Not sure which way the courts would go, but the minute you are sitting in court on an issue like this, you've lost already.

I've walked into many former grow houses in the Denver area.  I found things done to these properties that wouldn't even come close to passing code.  Now mind you they were all likely illegal operations.

While its still a federal crime, I will not allow growing pot, smoking pot, or possessing pot in my rentals and I voted yes on 64.  I'm no lawyer, but I would bet you could have some serious charges for knowingly allowing such things on your premises.   Yes the feds would have to start cracking down, but that is all based on the whims of those in charge.  

The rental market is so hot in adams county and the rest of the metro area that it makes no sense to me to take on that risk.

Originally posted by @John D.:

"He says he has grown for 12 years and knows what he is doing."

@Vicki Gleitz People say a lot of things.  They aren't always true.

And on the insurance question, if you have first-hand knowledge of illegal activities (federally speaking) and use of a property for other then which you are insured (habitation) and are allowing this explicitly, there are many policies that could attempt to deny your claim.  Many insurance companies have denied claims for less.  Not sure which way the courts would go, but the minute you are sitting in court on an issue like this, you've lost alread

This all seems like fear mongering to me. The man is a professional, a grow master, who works legally from home. He can easily prove his history as a caregiver if that is what the OP wants.   

@Bill Coleman  I believe individuals can only grow for personal use in residential areas.  So if they are growing to supply others it is illegal and must be done on commercial property.

Here is a great FAQ: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/marijuanainfodenv...

I know others from through-out the country will probably see this and debate the issue with you.  I on the other hand would suggest against it as this type of activity will also invite other drugs into your rentals which could cost you $$$$ to mitigate your property.  Are you in Real Estate for money, then think twice about your decision and pick your direction and your tenants wisely!

@Bill Coleman  a very real issue mentioned by @David P.  is the zoning. If the property is not in an area zoned for growing then you and the tenant will get the beat down if someone complains. All it takes is one neighbor. This is something that most areas are strictly enforcing. You should verify zoning allows for growing for use other than the grower.

I would charge much higher rents for pot dealers. Also charge three times or more the deposit.  Removing the pot smell and oils will be impossible and you will have to remove drywall.

Originally posted by @David P.:

@Bill Coleman  I believe individuals can only grow for personal use in residential areas.  So if they are growing to supply others it is illegal and must be done on commercial property.

Here is a great FAQ: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/marijuanainfodenv...

I know others from through-out the country will probably see this and debate the issue with you.  I on the other hand would suggest against it as this type of activity will also invite other drugs into your rentals which could cost you $$$$ to mitigate your property.  Are you in Real Estate for money, then think twice about your decision and pick your direction and your tenants wisely!

 The man is not growing for retail.  He is growing for medicinal purposes. caregivers grow for others who need mmj.

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