Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Realtors' Group Calls for Stronger Protections against Grow-Ops

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Realtors' Group Calls for Stronger Protections against Grow-Ops

Article excerpt

Realtors want stricter rules on grow-ops

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TORONTO - Ontario's real estate agents want stronger rules to protect home buyers from purchasing a former marijuana grow-op -- a situation they say will increase once cannabis is legalized this year.

The Ontario Real Estate Association, which represents the province's 70,000 realtors, has proposed a series of changes it says can act as a "regulatory shield" and protect home buyers from health and safety risks linked to grow-ops. The group's president, David Reid, said Monday that growing pot indoors requires high temperatures and humidity, which can create dangerous conditions that are hard for home buyers to detect.

"Former cannabis grow operations, even on a small scale, can pose significant health and safety issues for unsuspecting home buyers," Reid said. "These risks are often masked by owners of existing grow operations when the property is sold, making it very difficult for home buyers and realtors to detect problems like mould and fungus."

Reid said in Denver, Colorado -- where marijuana has been legal since 2014 -- police estimate one home in 10 grows pot inside.

"Make no bones about it, as of this summer more Ontarians are going to be growing legal pot at home," he said. "Realtors would support a full ban on the home cultivation of marijuana, however we don't expect the government of Ontario to take that step with legalization of recreational marijuana on the horizon."

The group is instead asking the Ontario government to restrict the number of plants a home owner can grow in a condo or apartment unit 1,000 square feet or smaller to one plant, down from four.

Ministry of the Attorney General spokesman Brian Gray said in a statement that as the province approaches legalization it will continue to work with all sectors, including realtors, homeowners, and landlords to "ensure that people have the necessary information and protections in place to make informed decisions about buying and selling a home. …

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