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Nova Scotia announces temporary rent control

Here's the nitty gritty on Nova Scotia’s new protections for renters.

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Chuck Porter, the minister of municipal affairs and housing announces to an empty room and reporters on the phone that the government is bringing rent control back—27 years after it got rid of it.
  • Chuck Porter, the minister of municipal affairs and housing announces to an empty room and reporters on the phone that the government is bringing rent control back—27 years after it got rid of it.
You read that right. The Nova Scotia government has introduced temporary rent control measures to address the rampant housing crisis in this town.

At a tele-press conference on Wednesday, municipal affairs and housing minister Chuck Porter gave the details.

Here’s what you need to know:
  • Rents cannot increase by more than two percent a year.
  • Landlords are not allowed to get eviction orders for renovations.
  • The change is retroactive to September 1, so if your rent increase started September 1, October 1 or November 1, you’re entitled to a credit for the money you paid that was over a two percent increase.
  • These rules are for the unit, and don't change if a building is sold to a new owner.
  • Even if you moved out, if you got and paid a rent increase for September, October or November, your old landlord has to pay you back.
  • If you signed a lease for an increase in April, but the increase wasn't scheduled to start until September 1, you qualify for the credit.
  • If your rent increased on August 1, you do not qualify for the credit and need to continue paying your full rent, even if the increase was over two percent.
    -If tenants are not reimbursed, they should make an application to the residential tenancies program.
  • If you were already renovicted and the landlord has approval from the tenancy board, then that will go ahead. You can, however, appeal the decision.
  • The new rules are in effect as long as there’s a state of emergency or until February 2022, whichever is first.
  • In Halifax, by-law M-200 dictates the minimum conditions for your apartment. Any violations of those conditions can be reported to HRM. Here's how. (We have heard from multiple readers that they are hesitant to bring forward landlord’s violations fearing the threat of renovation or high rent increases in response to reporting a violation, this cap on rent increases and ban on renovictions should help with that.)
  • You can now see on HRM’s open data portal the status of reported residential standard violations. This tells renters which buildings have violations, how long those violations take to be addressed—which gives a clue to both landlord receptiveness and municipal enforcement.
  • The province has also announced it’s putting together a Nova Scotia affordable housing commission, which is slated to “work with experts in the public, private, non-profit and academic sectors to make recommendations about affordable housing strategies and actions,” and come up with a plan for what to do when either the state of emergency lifts or after February 2022.
  • If you like this policy decision and want to see it continue, you can contact your MLA (the person who represents the area you live in at the provincial legislature) and let them know. You can also contact Porter himself, or any other provincial politician.
Big changes worth celebrating surely, but the housing crisis won't go away in a wink. Click here to read more about what the changes mean for renters, and those for whom it's just a bit too late. 

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