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For Immediate Release
October 20, 2023

Lack of government action on compliance and enforcement makes housing crisis worse

Thursday’s announcement by Service Nova Scotia Minister Colton LeBlanc that the government won’t be bringing in a compliance and enforcement unit for its residential tenancies program will make Nova Scotia’s housing crisis worse.

Kevin Russell, Executive Director of the Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia (IPOANS), said rental housing providers have been calling for a compliance and enforcement unit for years, based on similar models that exist in Ontario, British Columbia and New Brunswick.

“Nova Scotia’s residential tenancies system is broken, has been broken for many years under many governments, but Premier Tim Houston’s government won’t do anything to fix it,” said Russell.  “This do-nothing approach means that bad tenants can continue to break the law, refuse to pay their rent, damage property, threaten other tenants and staff without any consequences.  Many rental housing providers, in turn, are selling their properties to get out of this broken system – putting tenants at risk of homelessness.”

Russell highlighted the government’s confused approach by creating a home sharing program and providing loans for secondary suites – both of which create more landlord-tenant relationships under the Residential Tenancies Act – without ensuring its own law is respected and enforced.

“It’s all when and good to try new things, but it’s irresponsible for the government on the one hand to increase the number of people who fall under a provincial law like the Residential Tenancies Act, while not fixing what’s broken with that same law,” added Russell.  “Anyone who decides to participate in the provincial government’s new home sharing and secondary suite programs needs to know they are at risk because they have next to no protections, for the simple reason that the government doesn’t enforce its own Residential Tenancies Act.”

Russell urged Service Nova Scotia Minister Colton LeBlanc to ensure his department’s upcoming education program on the Residential Tenancies Act advises rental housing providers and tenants that the government does not enforce its own law.

“With the Houston government choosing education over enforcement, they need to be up front with everybody about what the government does and don’t do,” concluded Russell.

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c. Kevin Russell
t. 902.789.0948