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Halifax one step closer to rental registry after bylaw passes first reading

Halifax regional council has passed the first reading of a bylaw that would implement a registry of all rental properties in the municipality.

Under the proposed bylaw, all rental housing properties would need to be registered and owners and operators would need to create a maintenance plan and keep it current.

Council also voted in favour of amendments to strengthen the existing bylaw respecting standards for residential occupancies.

According to a municipal staff report, having a comprehensive list of all rental properties throughout HRM will provide a clearer picture of the municipality’s rental landscape.

It will also mean that the municipality can inspect units proactively, and not only after a complaint is received, “to ensure all rental units are held to the same minimum occupancy and building and fire safety standards.”

Those not in compliance with the bylaw could face fines ranging from $150 to $10,000, “depending on the type and recurrence of the offence,” the report said.

Minimum fines start at $150 for a first offence, $250 for the second offence and $450 for the third offence.

There will be no fee to register properties and owners and operators would be given a “grace period” to register until April 1, 2024.

“However after that time, rental housing that is not registered will be considered in violation and those property owners will be subject to a fine,” the report said. …[Read More]