Pot growing renter

14 Replies

We have a renter in Colorado that has turned our four bedroom home into a four bedroom grow house. We need legal advice from an experienced attorney who has experience with this probkem.  Any advice would be appreciated. 

My first thought is to call the cops and be there when they come so they don't have to bust your doors down.

Then again, Colorado is the wild west compared to PA. Your tenant may be permitted to grow. What is the state law on growers?

There is really no point in asking for advice about this here, as it sounds like you need legal advice from a local attorney well aware of the ever-changing marijuana law in Colorado.  However, from a real estate investment standpoint, I would think an eviction would be in your best interest.  I personally would not want to attach the risks associated to this kind of tenant to a property of mine.

I have to think that the amount and levels of humidity required to grow pot would not be beneficial to the home. Not to mention spillage to the floors, wood or carpet.

Is a pot grow home treated like a meth house? I know you don't have the toxic chemicals etc. But if the home has been used for the manufacturing of drugs that could be a problem. 

Raise the rent and get a piece of the action! 

Then call an attorney to see if you are comfortable with the risk. Send me a message I can refer one.

@Matthew Anderson is correct - not the issue I would be taking advice from strangers on the internet. 

@Tom Kelly is correct - your biggest issue is humidity and spillage.

In Colorado, a single person may grow up to 99 plants if they are a care giver and getting a care giver license is laughably easy.  

I have a No Smoking clause in my leases that includes marijuana.  I also have the following clause:

11. Use of Property/Absences. Tenant will occupy and use the Property as a full-time residential dwelling unit. Tenant will notify Landlord of any anticipated extended absence from the Property not later than the first day of the extended absence.

No retail, commercial or professional use of the Property is allowed unless the Tenant receives prior written consent of the Landlord and such use conforms to applicable zoning laws. In such case, Landlord may require Tenant to obtain liability insurance for the benefit of Landlord. Landlord reserves the right to refuse to consent to such use in its sole and absolute discretion.

The failure to abide by the provisions of this section will constitute a material breach of this Agreement and is a just cause for eviction.

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My lawyer tells me that I can invoke this in the event of a grow operation because a care giver license denotes that the use would be retail, commercial of professional.

I also have this clause that is much more specific:

19. USE OF MARIJUANA NOTICE: The State of Colorado's Amendment 64 legalizes the cultivation and possession and use of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older. Despite Amendment 64, the federal Controlled Substances Act remains in effect in the State of Colorado. This Act categorizes marijuana as an illegal Schedule 1 substance, the possession, distribution or manufacture of which is a criminal federal offense. Any and all use, cultivation or possession of marijuana on the Premises, INCLUDING USE OF MEDICINAL MARIJUANA, is strictly forbidden and shall constitute a default of this Lease. This policy applies to the Tenant or Tenants and all visitors, guests, employees or any other person on the Premises. This is compliant with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's findings that federal and state non-discrimination laws does not require the Landlord to accommodate requests to use, possess or cultivate medical marijuana from current or prospective tenants with disabilities.

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I paid a legal service for my lease and they guarantee that paragraph 19 is legal and enforceable in Colorado.

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However, that's a bit of a horse and barn door issue.  If you do not have similar clauses in your lease, it's not going to help you now.  Here's what I would do:

Do an inspection on the house.  Bring somebody knowledgeable with you.  I can recommend somebody if you need it who is both a grower and a remodeler/construction guy.  Have them look to see if things are set up such that there will be minimal/no damage to your house.  This would include making sure carpets are covered with tarps and that there is plenty of ventilation.  Cannabis will grow in lower humidity than "ideal" so just tell your tenants that they cannot raise the humidity because there is a real danger of mold.  Your tenant may get the idea that you're "ok" with what they are doing.  Once you're sure your house is protected as much as possible, continue with inspections frequently to continue to insure all is going ok.  Then when their lease is up, do not renew.

or

as @Travis Sperr advised, raise the rent, raise the security deposit and let it continue.

@Lana Ohmes you need to call these folks. It will take a while as they will need to you to apply to be a client and give them a deposit. They are pretty good and do the most evictions along the front range. They can advise you. They will also need a copy of your lease. They seem very practical and approach the situation from a financial perspective.

Originally posted by @Lana Ohmes :

We have a renter in Colorado that has turned our four bedroom home into a four bedroom grow house. We need legal advice from an experienced attorney who has experience with this probkem.  Any advice would be appreciated. 

 Lana,

I presume you were the lady who called me this morning?

@Bill S and @Jon Holdman are two of the Colorado investors on here who may be able to point you to an attorney and disaster/remediation contractor in the area.

[Note:  No sooner do I respond, then I notice Bill already found you.]

Someone please point this lady to a reputable tenancy attorney ... I told her on the phone this site would be her ticket to getting the needed contacts.

@Lana Ohmes   I would have pointed you to the same company as @Bill S.

http://www.thslawfirm.com

They're the folks I use.

Are there actually landlords renting homes as grow houses for a profit? That is mind blowing to me. 

Originally posted by @Ryan Dossey :

Are there actually landlords renting homes as grow houses for a profit? That is mind blowing to me. 

 I don't know of anybody who is doing that intentionally, but many landlords are finding their garages, basements, attics, sheds, backyards and spare rooms being used for growing.  Like, they aren't advertising "come grow weed here", but it's happening with more and more frequency.

Much like agreeing to take aggressive breed dogs or allowing smoking or renting to felons, a landlord can charge a premium for agreeing to allow such activity if the tenant requests it.

Used to be that landlords would just put "420 friendly" on their ads to let people know they were cool with smoking on the property.  Now you can and probably should advertise exactly how friendly you are, from smoking to full on agriculture operations.

What's really amazing are the warehouses in the city that are being used for full grow operations.  Our main Hiway through town is becoming known as High-25 for the combination of smoking in the cars (which is technically illegal) plus the smell of the plants coming out from the warehouse district.  It's a good time to be a commercial landlord in Colorado.

Are they bad tenants? Growing is legal in CO and the Feds don't seem to care at all under our current, awesome President. Would you chuck out a renter for having 100 regular indoor plants under the "moisture" headline? As long as electricity isn't included in the rent and they're good tenants why not let them be? OR just legalized and I'm curious to see how folks handle it here. I have an indoor plant clause in my lease about keeping them off the floor.
Originally posted by @Ellie Hanson :
Are they bad tenants? Growing is legal in CO and the Feds don't seem to care at all under our current, awesome President. Would you chuck out a renter for having 100 regular indoor plants under the "moisture" headline? As long as electricity isn't included in the rent and they're good tenants why not let them be? OR just legalized and I'm curious to see how folks handle it here. I have an indoor plant clause in my lease about keeping them off the floor.

Seriously???  The fellow is a bad tenant ... smoking is also legal, but do it in one of our properties and it's cause for eviction.

Lana called me out of the blue this morning (still not sure how my number fell into her hands) and I sent her to BP ...specifically to find Bill and Jon who I was confident would be able to refer her to the right folks to resolve her situation.

 According to the OP, the tenant has turned three of the bedrooms into grow rooms, cut holes in an exterior wall to install ventilation.  Pulled down at least one ceiling.

I would move quickly because growing in a house that isn't built for it can be DEVASTATING with the humidity.  There have been several Illegal grow houses busted by a PD that I know a cop on and he said the place was FULL of mold on almost every surface due to the humidity it ran.  I would move quickly and check your lease!

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