In Nevada, recreational use of marijuana is legal, and has been since January of 2017. Adults 21 years of age and older are permitted to vape and smoke, but many landlords prefer to keep this activity out of their rental properties. As a property owner, you need to know what you can do to protect your investment.
The problem that owners are running into is that this is a billion dollar industry, and as more states legalize marijuana and marijuana products, it’s harder to push back. Realistically, marijuana will likely be legalized throughout the country, in a year or two. You need to be prepared to combat the smoking inside your home or your unit.
Strict Reno Lease Provisions
Everything that happens at your rental property starts with your lease agreement. It’s important that you have a strong lease with specific expectations and responsibilities. It’s not enough to just tell your residents that you don’t allow smoking of any kind inside the property. You have to include the language and the prohibition in your contract.
Make sure the language is clear. You don’t want to say “no smoking” and leave it at that. This type of vague statement won’t cut it anymore. Be specific about what isn’t allowed. List everything from tobacco to marijuana to vape pens. Vaping has becoming extremely popular among millennial tenants, and that’s one of the largest growing demographic populations. You have to be clear that it’s not allowed inside the property because many of your residents won’t think that vaping counts as smoking.
Communicate with Your Residents
Have a conversation with your residents before they move into the property. While most of your lease signing and communication may be electronic, you want to make sure that you’re clearly establishing the rules of living in your property. Explain that you are renting that property to the residents with the expectation that there will be no smoking of any substance.
Set clear standards and consistent boundaries. When you have done this in writing and in person, there is no excuse for your residents to violate the lease agreement or smoke in the property or claim they didn’t know if wasn’t allowed. If you discover something that’s a violation of your no smoking policy, you can feel comfortable that you gave them the information that they needed, but they ignored it and now must face the repercussions.
Prepare to Make Repairs and Maintain your Investment
Have a team of professionals lined up to treat the property if you discover a resident has been smoking inside. You may or may not notice that there are residues on the wall, but if someone has been smoking marijuana or vaping inside the property, there will be residue. You’ll need to take care of your walls, paint, carpet, and surfaces. Be ready to repair and replace these things, and work with expert vendors and contractors who have done this type of work before.
A lot of people don’t realize that vaping inside a property creates a chemical film or residue on the walls and ceiling. There may only be trace amounts of it that are hard to notice, but on a larger scale, that residue can affect the color and texture of your paint. There’s not a lot of data yet about the long term effects that these chemicals can have on your property or on the residents who will be moving into the property after someone was in there smoking.
With results still in the discovery process, we don’t know if there’s any special cleaning that can be done, and it’s probably best to do a full repaint if a resident has been using vaping products or smoking marijuana. We haven’t dealt with these chemicals widely throughout the industry, so we don’t know what it’s going to do to sheetrock, carpet, tiles, and other services. It’s possible that over time, you’ll see a couple inches of saturation and it won’t help to just paint over it.
This is understandably a big fear for investors. It’s terrible to have to deal with an unknown expense that may be so large even a security deposit won’t take care of it.
Expensive Reno Rental Property Renovations: Case Study
A recent experience with a Mynd client illustrates the importance of knowing what’s going on at your rental property.
At the end of 2018, a new owner asked Mynd for a professional opinion about a situation he had encountered. His tenant had been living in the same rental property for many years. Everything seemed to be going well, so the owner never did any inspections and no maintenance requests were ever submitted.
When the tenant moved out, the property had a very strong smell. The heavy odor of marijuana hung in the air and had saturated the walls, ceilings, floors – everything. The owner had to file an insurance claim, and the insurance company required an investigation which was a very time consuming process. Ultimately, a remediation company had to be hired to treat the odor. This amount of work is similar to what an owner would have to go through with fire or water damage. Air purification steps were taken and the walls had to be treated.
It’s hard to say whether that property is 100 percent back to where it was.
As a rental property owner, you’re taking a huge risk when you don’t have a tight eye on your resident.
Make sure you’re staying up to date on all the laws pertaining to vaping and marijuana use. If you’re not sure how these things apply to your Reno rental property, please contact us at Mynd Property Management. We have a lot of experience getting owners out of stressful situations.
You can also visit our Facebook group of investors, which is called Master Mynd. It’s a real estate investors’ club, where you can exchange ideas with other owners. Check out our weekly podcast as well, called The Myndful Investor. We invite leaders in real estate and property management to talk about their success and, more importantly, their failures. There’s a lot to learn from this relatable content.