Vt. landlords, renters prepare for legal pot
On July 1, it will be legal to smoke weed and own up to four marijuana plants on private property. But that might not be the case for renters. Vermont property owners can decide whether or not marijuana can be used, grown or kept on their property.
"Landlords have the right to set the rules," said Angela Zailkowski, the director of the Vermont Apartment Owners Association.
Zailkowski works with about 1,000 landlords statewide. She recommends that if they don't want pot on their property, they write it into their lease agreement before legalization.
"Previously leases would have said, 'no illegal drug use.' And so now, they just have to carve that out and say marijuana use and cultivation is not allowed. Because technically within the state of Vermont it's not illegal," said Zaikowski.
"When we get the apartments back after the termination of the lease, the smell really lingers," Billy Mauer said.
Mauer owns 23 apartments in downtown Burlington and says the lingering smell can lead to costly cleanups. He's also concerned about what marijuana growing could lead to, like smoking and selling. That's why he plans to ban it from his properties.
"We just don't want it," said Mauer.
Not all landlords are against it. On Craigslist, there's an ad for an apartment in Colchester. It states in part, "growing in this rental is allowed within Vermont's requirements."
"Some might see that there is a market here for a tenant who is interested in this type of lifestyle," Zaikowski
Others see it as a chance to have more options when it comes time to look for a place to live.
"If there were more options for housing in Burlington, and people can choose and say, 'This landlord is not going to let me grow weed, so maybe I'll go somewhere else and then I can do what I want to do which is legally allowed.' But a lot of people don't have that choice," said Sheldon Burnell, a University of Vermont student.