*Please note: Any questions regarding Legal Hotline Spotlights should be submitted via the Virginia REALTORS® Legal Hotline. Our attorneys are unable to respond to questions through our comments section.

Q:  If a tenant purports to have a disability that requires the use of marijuana, is the landlord required to allow the tenant to smoke marijuana inside the residence? 

A:  While the laws around marijuana use have been in flux around the country, at present the answer to the question as applied in Virginia is no. Virginia Fair Housing law prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants or prospective tenants due to a disability of the tenant. Additionally, Virginia Fair Housing law requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities. Virginia law, however, specifically defines the word “disability” as not including the “use of or addiction to a controlled substance as defined in Virginia or federal law.” While the use of marijuana is now legal in Virginia under certain circumstances, it is still categorized as a controlled substance under federal law. Because federal law still defines marijuana as a controlled substance, the use of or addiction to marijuana is not currently protected as disability by Virginia Fair Housing law. As such, a landlord is not required to allow a tenant to smoke marijuana inside the residence in this scenario. 

Have a question about this article? Submit it to the Legal Hotline!

The Legal Hotline is a member benefit that has been supporting members for over 25 years. Our team of lawyers answers your important questions about real estate transactions quickly and accurately (usually within three business hours!).

Here are some tips to help make the Legal Hotline work for you!