Monday, October 01, 2007

What To Do About Indoor Grows

Everybody's talking about the problems with indoor pot grows, especially in Arcata. I can understand the concern, but I don't know that zoning laws are going to help that much, if at all.

Our very own, Ed Denson, made some suggestions and observations. He might be right with some of those.

Seems to me the only thing the landlords can do to protect themselves, as far as here and now, is to be sure they have something in their rental contract that allows them to make a monthly inspection of the entire premises before they allow a tenant to rent the property.

And after they've rented the property, INSPECT IT! I don't know that they need to schedule their inspection for the first of each month.

Then again, heck, why not? If a tenant/ grower knew the landlord would be coming by to walk through their house on a certain day each month, they wouldn't have enough time for pot to grow.

I know that's easier said than done and most landlords don't have the time or desire to do inspections each month, but makes sense to me. Seems like about the only thing they can do to protect their property at this point.

26 Comments:

At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to give 24 hours written notice prior to entering a rental unit.

Growers are known to empty a house at night so the place looks clean when the landlord arrives the next day. They restock the house after the inspection.

Routine inspections aren't in rental contracts because even non-growing tenants would balk, particularly if the inspections are unannounced. College dorm rooms don't even get inspected, ever, unless a complaint is filed or the tenant moves out.

 
At 9:43 AM, Blogger Fred said...

I realize they have to give notice. That can be taken care of.

I find it difficult to believe that a grower, especially if a house is FULL of pot plants, would want to go through the hassle every month of emptying everything out in preparation for a landlords inspection. Especially where damage to the house has been done as in this latest case in the news and especially if they might be worried about someone seeing them moving pot plants.

It just wouldn't make sense.

I realize most people don't want to have the landlord coming around all the time. Regardless, I think the landlord could explain the problem and tell tenants they're not going to be looking for "elephants in snuff boxes..", as they refer to when dealing with search warrants.

They could just say they'll be coming by once a month just to look at each room in the house to make sure it's not being used for a dope grow. Heck, they could even say they will just be looking in the windows and have the tenants leave the curtains open on inspection day.

They could even say they don't care if a few plants are being grown in a closet, just don't fill the house with them or cause any damage to the house.

I'll have to say I wouldn't want a landlord coming around the place I was renting. That's why it's a good idea to buy your own house, as these growers should.

 
At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legalize it and take the criminality out of it, but then the price would drop, because it is a weed and easy to grow.

 
At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, it does make sense. You're scratching your head wondering, "Why don't they do this..." Well, the pot growers have everything figured out. That's why the problem exists. People have reported more than once observing a house being emptied overnight then restocked (or more accurately, watching big black plastic bags being ferried to and from a house).

As for your "buy houses" comment, yes, many growers buy houses. That's one of the problems, a housing shortage because houses are being bought up, not just rented.

One not entirely foolproof thing to do is to watch which houses regularly do not put a trash can on the curb for pickup. Almost half the houses on my block don't receive garbage service and I never see people in or around those houses. I find it difficult to believe half my neighbors cart their garbage to the dump themselves.

 
At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred said: That's why it's a good idea to buy your own house, as these growers should.

My 2 cents: If the dopers buy the house, they can lose the house. That's not good economics. Hence, they rent.

Anonymous 10:12 said ...One not entirely foolproof thing to do is to watch which houses regularly do not put a trash can on the curb for pickup."

My 2 cents: Your method is beguiling but not accurate. The number of households (in Eureka, anyway) that use curbside garbage pickup is only about 60% of total households. The actual numbers were posted on one of our local blogs recently on a garbage-related thread.

10-4.

 
At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Say, here's an idea.

When the landlords inspect the property, why can't they use indoor air quality machines (like the ones OSHA uses)to test for evidence of marijuana smoke or other even less obvious traces of dope in the air?

 
At 11:11 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Well, seems to me the problems isn't so much people smoking dope in the house, it's people growing dope in the house.

All the landlord would do is go by and look in the windows, or walk through the house to see if there was a problem. It should be obvious and not require special equipment.

If no damage to the house is done, would it matter if someone smokes pot in the house?

 
At 11:57 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

9:48's suggestion is the best one by far but it would end too many bureaucratic careers.

 
At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It matters if someone smokes dope in the house in the same way it matters if someone smokes nicotine.

A smoky odor will permeate the house, requiring every surface to be throughly washed with an industrial cleanser, and carpets simply have to be replaced.

Presumably dope smokers don't smoke as often as nicotine smokers, but the smoke still does damage.

 
At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you,ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ! Perhaps, the bureacrats can work on taxing the weed and collecting the funds.

 
At 1:50 PM, Blogger Fred said...

12:26 wrote, "but the smoke still does damage.".

Indeed. Same problem in a way, I suppose. Some landlords specify they want non- smokers. Not sure the damage would be as extensive as the grows.

I know the hotel/ motel people always tell us it costs something like $300 every time someone smokes in a non- smoking room and they have to have the room de- odored. I imagine de- smoking a house would cost a lot more.

 
At 2:06 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Smoke, mold, dirt filled rooms, holes in the walls, fires - and not just an ordinary house fire, but fires with tanks of gasoline and butane waiting to explode.
It's the damage, right, fred.

Then - there's the energy consumption. We're all subjected to the Orwellian "Flex Your Power" ads telling us all to conserve energy - but, wow, I guess grow houses are A-OK.

 
At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These landlord excuses don't convince me. I suspect that these landlords are asking more than top dollar rent for their properties with few takers. They are pinching themselves with glee for getting so much in rent and they ask few questions that might discourage a tenant willing and able to pay well above market rates.

Like Claude Rains in Casablanca, the landlords are "Shocked to find gambling going on in Rick's", while they get fat rent checks.

And Rose, your kneejerk accusations of hypocricy of liberals are off the mark, as usual. The bulb farm in the Arcata bottom uses huge amounts of natural gas and electricity to grow their tropical products in our temperate climate. Thats the economics of greenhouse agriculture, regardless of the crop. The reason for that is fossil fuel prices are highly subsidized by the government. That makes unsustainable agricultural practices economically profitable.

 
At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marijuana smoke does not linger and funk up the paint, etc, like cigarette smoke does.

All a landlord has to do is *ask* the tenants if they are 215 and are looking to grow. Explain that you are okay with that in principal but for XXX reason you feel it is unsafe in your property, for example the wiring is not up to par for such a thing.

OR, specify in the contract that growing is not allowed (perfectly legal) and mention this at signing. Point it out during the app process and mention that you may need to do an inspection at some point.

Naturally you need notice and the growers will be prepared to handle this. Simply give notice and cruise by the place the night before to see if they're moving stuff out.

All that said, it doesn't take much critical thinking here.

One option is to pay the electric bill yourself.

 
At 4:21 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Oh? I didn't realize the "Flex Your Power" ads were liberal. But. OK. I didn't realize pot growers were "liberal." Maybe they are. I'm just saying that telling everyone to turn off a lightbulb - or to try to pass legislation banning incandescent lightbulbs, and not doing ANYTHING about these giant draws on the energy grid - well, yeah, it is hypocrisy. At the very least it is a disconnect.

But you're right to compare it to ag - and Eric is right that maybe it ought to be zoned - that you can have your grow house in approved AG grow area rather than deceiving property owners and treating their property with disrespect. The point is the houses are rented to nice young couples with children who bring you the rent and sit and have tea as if everything is normal - and you say the landlord knows full well? I don't think so. I think some do - as Robin Shelley points out - but that is not the case here.

 
At 6:58 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Rose, I agree.

 
At 8:41 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Thanks, Greg.

 
At 10:05 PM, Anonymous Wheat Germ said...

Pot should be grown in the Central Valley, not in our National Forests and certainly not in homes, but we'll keep having these problems as long as it is illegal.

 
At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some Uninformed Person said: Marijuana smoke does not linger and funk up the paint, etc, like cigarette smoke does.

That's right, because marijuana smoke magically dissipates while nicotine smoke magically lingers. Dude! Don't report your insightful observations to us while your eyes are still bloodshot.

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger Pogo said...

11:32 PM: "Don't report your insightful observations to us while your eyes are still bloodshot."
If "Dude" and other posters here followed your admonition, Freds blog would suffer a dearth of comments :o)

 
At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like marijuana. When I smoke it, I write page after page of wonderfully imaginative fiction. Trouble is, I can't ever figure out the day after, the meaning of the words I wrote the night before.

 
At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i won't pretend to have scientifically reviewed paperwork on the topic but you must be a total moron if you think there's no diff between cig smoke and mj.

 
At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes the poor poor landlords, we need to pass lots of laws to protect their assets. Of course none of them know a thing...Here's what I would tell a landlord if I had a 215 grow: It's between me and my doctor, now f*ck off. If the house is all tore up, that's a different story...

 
At 10:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People who tear up nice old houses should be required to live in foxholes. Wet foxholes.

 
At 8:18 AM, Anonymous landlord said...

.Here's what I would tell a landlord if I had a 215 grow: It's between me and my doctor, now f*ck off.

And then I would say, you have 30 days to vacate the premises, it's in the rental agreement that marijuana growing and/or smoking is not allowed on my property. And I'm keeping your cleaning deposit unless all of that mold is cleaned off the walls.

 
At 3:17 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

9:48 and Leonidas have the best solution. Legalize it. It would suck for Humboldt because a lot of our county's income is generated by selling pot out of the area. But it's ridiculous to keep it illegal: clogs up the legal system, and now we've been alerted to the house fire problem.

LEGALIZE IT LEGALIZE IT LEGALIZE IT

 

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