October 18th, 2023

Houston must protect renters from unfair evictions

HALIFAX – The housing crisis is hurting Nova Scotians at all income levels but especially those who rent their homes and are worried they will be unfairly evicted. The average rent for a vacant 1-bedroom in Halifax is over $1900. Tim Houston must do more to protect renters and help people stay in their homes.

“With less than 1 percent vacancy in many parts of the province, and no affordable rentals available, renters are telling us how fearful they are of losing their homes. They’re concerned about finding and keeping a home they can afford, and no-pet policies are yet another way to expedite an eviction and raise the rent for a new tenant,” said NDP leader Claudia Chender. “There are many solutions that could be undertaken quickly and would make a difference to renters right across the province. We are advancing these solutions, and the Houston government could make progress on housing by supporting them.”

The NSNDP tabled legislation last week that would strengthen renters’ protections and will table legislation today to prevent landlords from adding “no pet” clauses to rental agreements. Local animal welfare groups have raised the alarm about the practice, saying shelters are filling up as they see more pets surrendered because of it.

“People are sleeping in vehicles and tents rather than part with their pets,” said Hugh Chisholm, President of the Tuxedo Party of Canada Cat Welfare Society. “Having a pet has proven health benefits while saying goodbye to a beloved family member takes a toll. This is a simple, no-cost solution to address the housing crisis. This is why we are calling on the Nova Scotia government to ban ‘no pet’ clauses in rental agreements.”

A recent report from the CMHA says Nova Scotia needs at least 70,000 new housing units by 2030 to meet demand. Thirty-three percent of Nova Scotian households rent their homes and 35 percent of renters spend more than is recommended on housing.