OntarioReal Estate Association report suggests grow-op risks will soar after cannabisis legalized
AmandaPfeffer · CBC News · Posted: Apr 10, 2018 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 6 hoursago
DavidReid (centre), president of the Ontario Real Estate Association, on Mondayintroduced five recommendations to protect homebuyers from properties damagedby marijuana grow-ops. (CBC)
The Ontario Real EstateAssociation (OREA) wants the province to introduce more protections forhomebuyers from properties damaged by cannabis grow-ops — and it wants thosechanges made before recreational cannabis is legalized later this year.
“Make no bones about it,as of this summer more people will be growing pot at home,” warned OREApresident David Reid at a media conference at the Ontario legislature Monday.
Reid pointed tostatistics from police in Denver, Colorado — where the drug has been legalsince 2014 — suggesting one in 10 homes in that city is being used togrow cannabis.
“Ontario must take stepsto protect homeowners and prospective homebuyers about the health and safetyrisks associated with former marijuana grow-ops,” said Reid.
- ’My heart was in my stomach’: Homeowner learns too late she bought a former grow-op](http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/go-public-marijuana-house-buyer-ontario-grow-op-1.4307923)
- ’Spot the grow-op’ no easy game for homebuyers](http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/spotting-grow-ops-not-easy-for-homebuyers-1.4319562)
The head of the Ottawa RealEstate Board, Ralph Shaw, said he’s seen what can happen to homes damagedby cannabis grow-ops.
“It’s the mould and thefungus and the moisture that causes the problem … and it can destroy theframe structure of a house. So you’re into not just tens of thousands, butcertainly $50,000 to $100,000 isn’t uncommon to clean up and retrofit ahome that’s been used as a grow-op, so it’s very serious,” Shaw said.
Ralph Shaw, a real estate agent and president ofthe Ottawa Real Estate Board, said he’s seen entire houses ruined by cannabisgrow-ops. (Amanda Pfeffer/CBC)
5 possible fixes
An OREA report asks forthese five changes to Ontario law:
- Changing the building code to designate illegal drug operations as unsafe buildings requiring remediation.
- Requiring municipal inspections of designated unsafe buildings.
- Registering municipal work orders for remediation on the Ontario land title system.
- Training home inspectors to spot damage caused by grow-ops.
- Reducing the allowable number of personal plants from four to one in multi-unit dwellings smaller than 1,000 square feet.
OREA has tried before tolobby the province to introduce a registry, and supported a 2013 privatemember’s bill from Nepean—Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod, which did not passthrough the legislature.
OREA now suggests withlegalization looming a registry is more important than ever,saying that the number of illegal grow-ops rose in Colorado followinglegalization there.
One Ottawa woman bought a fixer-upper bungalow asan investment, but it turned out to be a former grow-op that’s cost her $30,000in remediation costs. (Claudette Charron)