GBREB and MAR Support Clarifying New Medical Marijuana Law
In joint testimony presented last week before the Massachusetts House of Representative’s Judiciary Committee, officials from the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) urged state lawmakers to support a bill that would clarify a landlord's obligation under the Commonwealth’s new medical marijuana law approved by voters in November. The bill would protect landlords and property owners who have a non-smoking policy to restrict or prohibit marijuana use. Without a law expressly allowing a property owner or condo association to restrict or prohibit marijuana use they may be subject to claims for civil rights or fair housing violations. GBREB and MAR argued that the legislation is necessary to ensure that the state laws include protections for homeowners and landlords.
GBREB and MAR had previously asked the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to clarify the responsibilities of property owners when they promulgated regulations in May. DPH included an express provision protecting schools youth centers, correctional facilities, public places and places of employment however, apartments, condominiums or homes were not included.
At a Beacon Hill hearing on June 19th GBREB Government Affairs Director Patricia Baumer and MAR General Counsel Mike McDonagh, Esq., also called on legislators to support legislation establishing a rent escrow law and a bill to reduce the number of days that prohibit landlords from impose a surcharge for a failure to pay rent. Under current law landlords are prohibited from imposing a surcharge for a failure to pay rent until at least thirty days have passed since rent was due and payable.