The provincial government has introduced changes in the bill
Nova Scotia’s population is booming. The pandemic-driven influx of people moving to the province coupled with the trend of rental properties being sold or converted to short-term rentals is creating a housing crisis. One of the ways that the government is dealing with the housing shortage is by changing the province’s tenancy laws.
People on both sides of the issue may have different views, but feel that there should be more compliance and enforcement of the province’s Residential Tenancies Act. When either landlords or tenants are found to be in violation of the law – and there’s plenty of that – there should be action.
The proposed changes to the bill, introduced last week as part of the government’s housing strategy, provide added protection against renovictions, higher rates of compensation for displaced tenants, and a two-year cap on rent increases. As per the CBC, Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services Minister Colton Leblanc said the rent cap bill, which holds annual increases for tenants staying in the same place to two percent, will mean security for renters while the government works to get more housing stock in place.
“Most landlords have been respectful and understanding to their tenants during these very difficult times and I would like to thank them for that,” Leblanc said during a bill briefing.” – Colton Leblanc
The housing crisis in Nova Scotia is drawing attention to the use of fixed-term leases, which are quickly becoming the new norm in the province and provide a potential loophole for landlords to bypass the province’s rent control cap. In monthly and yearly leases, the lease will automatically renew itself each month or year (depending on the type of lease) unless you give your landlord proper notice that you will not renew the lease. Fixed term leases do not have a notice period. The tenancy period ends on the date stated in the lease.
“While I’m super excited that Nova Scotia’s population is at a historic high, it’s also making those that are marginalized even more so. The ones that can’t afford the average market rents are suffering.” -Krista McNair of the Truro Homeless Outreach Society
The Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission, formed last November to study the province’s affordable housing situation, released recommendations on May 31, including a 61-page report from the province’s Affordable Housing Commission. It urged the government to spend a “quick-start investment” of $25 million to help 600 to 900 Nova Scotians find adequate and affordable housing in the next 18 months. On July 6, the provincial government announced it had committed to all 17 of the commission’s recommendations, including the quick start investment to build affordable units.
Are you a landlord in Nova Scotia? What has your experience been? Share with us!