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Liberals should prevent potential flood of evictions as moratorium expires

HALIFAX — With the provincial moratorium on evictions set to expire next week, thousands of renters could lose their housing. The NDP is calling on the Liberals to extend the ban on evictions for rental arrears related to income loss from COVID-19.

“We were already in a housing crisis before COVID-19, with some tenants facing massive year over year rent increases. We’ve heard from tenants served with notices of steep rent increases even during the state of emergency. Now, we have thousands of people who owe back rent or are facing eviction, and there has been no word from the Liberal government about any support or plan,” said NDP Housing spokesperson Lisa Roberts. “If we return to the status quo on June 30, we could see an even more serious housing and homelessness crisis this summer.”

Nova Scotia’s unemployment rate jumped to 14 percent in May from 8 percent in February before the pandemic began. Prior to the pandemic, a full 19 per cent of households were already paying 50 per cent or more of their income on rent and utilities.

“This is a very real issue and we are hearing from people that they don’t know what they’ll do if they receive an eviction notice next week,” said Mark Culligan, a Community Legal Worker with Dalhousie Legal Aid. “The ban on evictions needs to be extended for the duration of the public health emergency.”
Earlier this year it was reported that HRM had a 1 per cent vacancy rate and average rents have increased by 4 per cent in the last year.