Top view of cannabis or marihuana plants on balcony. Left copy space. High angle view of marijuana leaves. Outdoors growing marijuana plants. Retro style.

Property disclosures: Will legalization of cannabis make a difference?

You already know that FVREB’s Property Disclosure Statement requires an answer to the question “Are you aware if the Premises have been used as a marijuana grow operation or to manufacture illegal drugs?” Your obligation to disclose a property that’s been used to produce cannabis will still be in effect even when cannabis becomes legal in Canada, including homes where medical cannabis has been grown.

Clean up and clam up?

Even so, some sellers and some REALTORS® may try to find reasons for not disclosing this and ask: “Why should I have to disclose property where cannabis was grown legally? And why should I have to disclose it after the house has been cleaned up?”

The answer is that even if it was legally produced, and even if the home underwent an inspection, it does not guarantee that there is no residual mold or pesticides, chemicals or faulty wiring somewhere in the house. But as long as you disclose a property’s history, the buyer and their agent have the option to hire their own experts to determine their next steps.

It also ensures that you are free of blame, guilt and most importantly, liability, should the house have material defects that present a risk to people or pets, or to the value of the property as an investment.


Unfortunately, there are still no provincial remediation standards in effect that determine what is required to complete a proper remediation or how to assess it. It is an issue that real estate boards continue to push for and which BCREA insists needs to be addressed by the time home growing of cannabis becomes legal.

Council’s Rule 5:13 under the Real Estate Services Act, says that sellers and real estate representatives are obligated to disclose any material latent defects of a home which could be a danger to the occupants. A house where a cannabis plant has been grown does not mean it has a material latent defect; although there is a possibility that latent defects exist there.

Dennis Wilson says

In a previous column, FVREB’s Manager of Professional Standards Dennis Wilson wrote: “There’s no grey here. If a home had 20, 200 or 2,000 plants – legally or illegally – and even if it was (apparently) remediated and looks absolutely gorgeous, it must be disclosed.”

He continued: “I can’t emphasize enough that disclosing that a home was a grow-op doesn’t mean that it has a material latent defect. It doesn’t mean the home is defective. Many are fine and don’t have a single issue associated with grow-ops – mold, water, wiring, etc. The problem is, you don’t know… if you find out that a house was a grow-op and the city or another body ‘says’ it’s been remediated, get it in writing and let your buyer decide.”

It can be difficult to confirm a property’s history one way or the other. The reality is that most homes where cannabis has been grown have never involved police or local bylaw officers. Quite likely there was no investigation, no inspection and no charges against the home owner or occupants.

Freedom of Information

For years, FVREB has sought to find a simple process by which Realtors could inquire about a property’s history through municipal records. Some municipalities have hesitated to provide this information due to privacy laws. Some have required a “Freedom of Information Request” to make this information known, and an hourly fee for staff time payable by the Realtor. But it is a cost that does provide assurance of a property’s history for all parties involved.

A home with a history of cannabis does not mean a home is irredeemable – not at all. Some property owners choose to pay what it costs to remediate those that have mold or other issues, while others may elect to pull down the structure and rebuild from the ground up. Every case is different.

The important thing is for Realtors and their seller clients to disclose what they know of a property’s history and condition, honestly and clearly, before the home is listed for sale.

Safe Grow Homes

The FVREB just launched its own awareness campaign called Safe Grow Homes, a resource aimed at helping the public, our clients, and elected officials understand the impact of growing cannabis at home.

We encourage members to check it out and share the web page with your clients. You can also visit our Facebook and Twitter pages to follow the campaign through the next few months, where we’ll be sharing further information, tips, and other helpful resources.