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Year In Review: Kevin Russell On The Challenges N.S. Landlords Faced In 2022

Q: As somebody who speaks on behalf of landlords and property investors in Nova Scotia, when you look back at 2022, what comes to your mind?

This year unfolded the way we predicted it would, and that’s very unfortunate. What’s happening now is the Nova Scotia rental market is taking on all the characteristics of a rent-controlled jurisdiction.

By researching other jurisdictions, we kind of knew what was going to happen. I mean, there’s textbook characteristics; you now have new tenants subsidizing existing tenants because of the rent cap; you have small rental housing providers exiting the business because it doesn’t make any economic sense. Our survey showed that there’s more than 12,000 units at risk of being sold. So, once they sell off, the rental inventory becomes tighter.

What we didn’t predict was the impact of high inflation. We didn’t know how high inflation was going to go and it’s had a substantial negative impact on operations for rental housing providers.

Oil heating is still a majority of the heating for apartment rental buildings and, and oil has jumped dramatically in the last year, there’s no way to recoup the increase in costs.

We’re the only business in Nova Scotia that can’t recoup costs. We can’t recoup increased costs on insurance premiums and snow plowing is up dramatically. I mean, these expenses I’m talking about all have double- and triple-digit increases, and then you throw in property taxes.

The economics of operating a rental property have become very challenging.

To read the full interview, 2022 Year in Review