Landlord Tenant Rights & Marijuana: “My Apartment Smells like Marijuana”

Since the legalization of recreational marijuana use in the Commonwealth, the pungent smells of marijuana have started popping up indoors and outdoors in Massachusetts. My practice at Campoli, Monteleone & Mozian, P.C. involves representing landlords and tenants in residential and commercial settings. During the past few months, several of my residential landlord and tenant clients have asked me questions such as:

    • How do I stop my tenants from smoking marijuana in their apartments?
    • Can my landlord prevent me from smoking marijuana in my apartment?
    • The hallway of my apartment building smells like marijuana – how can I prevent this?
    • My tenants are leaving my apartment building because their apartment smells of marijuana smoke that is coming from an apartment down the hall – how can I stop this?

My response to these clients is usually the same:

    • Do you have a written lease for your apartment?
    • If so, what does this written lease say about smoking in the premises?

Residential lease clauses preventing smoking in a residential unit are generally enforceable. But since cigarette smoking indoors has become commonly illegal, many landlords have stopped including no-smoking clauses in their leases, relying instead on the generally accepted principle that tenants will not smoke cigarettes indoors.

Now with the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Massachusetts, residential landlords and tenants would be well-served to: (1) have a written lease; and (2) include a clause in the lease that addresses smoking in the premises. I can be contacted at (413) 443-6485 to discuss these residential lease issues and/or eviction of tenants who breach their lease obligations. I look forward to discussing these issues with you.

Note – For more information on the legality of marijuana use, click here.