CMHC is Canada’s federally owned mortgage insurer. As of October 25, 2018, their stance on homes that were former grow operations has not changed and reads as follows:
“At this time, CMHC is not making any changes to its mortgage loan insurance policies in relation to the impending legalization of cannabis. CMHC will continue to insure mortgage loans for homeowner residential properties (1-4 units) and multi-unit residential properties (5+ units) where cannabis was previously grown and/or will be legally grown.
We will also monitor the impacts of the Cannabis Act on our mortgage loan insurance activities over the long term. We will also be reminding Approved Lenders that, in cases where property damage has occurred, they are required to disclose this information to CMHC in making the request for mortgage loan insurance and confirm that remedial action has been taken to address any related property damage/alterations,” Courtesy Beverly LePage, Client Relations – CMHC.
However, in my opinion as a mortgage broker, it is the damage to the home from a “typical illegal” grow op that is most important here. When one hears “grow op”, you picture rooms full of plants with lights and irrigation lines with no care taken to prevent irreparable damage to the home.
Please consider the following scenarios.
Tomato Enthusiast #1
Tomato enthusiast #1 absolutely loves tomatoes. He/she finds them relaxing and even fun to share with friends. Tomato enthusiast #1 places dozens of tomato plants in every room of their home with full irrigation and grow lighting. Without proper ventilation, this caused a drastic increase in humidity in the home. If that were to continue, a dangerous mould condition may develop, making the home uninhabitable. In this case, the damage that Tomato enthusiast #1 caused may prevent a mortgage from being placed on the property by the lender and/or insurer.
Tomato Enthusiast #2
Tomato enthusiast #2 also loves his tomatoes but not quite as much as #1. He/she enjoys having a few slices on toast on a Friday evening as a weekly treat. Tomato enthusiast #2 places 4 tomato plants in front of the living room window and daily watered and talked to them pleasantly. Having 4 tomatoes plants in the home was not illegal before October 17th and probably never will be. With proper care, the 4 tomato plants thrived and never caused any damage to the home. A few weeks down the road Tomato enthusiast #2 decided to sell the property. When their trusted realtor arrived to list the home there was no apparent damage caused by any plant or animal that resided there and it was immaculate. It is highly unlikely that the presence of 4 tomato plants would prevent approval by a mortgage lender or insurer.
If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional near you.