July 27th, 2020

No rent control leaving renters additionally vulnerable during COVID-19

HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia renters continue to struggle as low vacancy rates and massive rental increases leave them vulnerable to homelessness.

“I’ve lived in this apartment for 16 years but this latest rent increase of $150 would have left me nothing for other bills,” said Joedie Muise, a renter in Halifax Needham. “I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find a new apartment in my price range. There are basically no options and now I don’t know where I’ll go at the end of the month.”

Rent increases of $100 or $200 a month or more are frequently reported in HRM. With no controls in place tenants are often forced to move.

“Here’s someone who has had a home for 16 years and now the lack of rent control has left her weeks away from potential homelessness,” said NDP Housing spokesperson Lisa Roberts. “Anyone would be alarmed at an unexpected $150 extra expense each month. It’s especially difficult for the many families in our province who are struggling to make ends meet. This is why government regulation of the rental market is so important.”

The NDP has tabled legislation multiple times in the last three years to re-establish rent control in Nova Scotia. Restricting uncontrolled rent increases should be part of the wider plan for our communities and economy to recover from COVID-19. The NDP has called for an economic task force to develop that plan.