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Rent control not the solution to N.S. housing crisis

Anybody who says, as NDP Leader Claudia Chender did in her submission (Homes within reach for all Nova Scotians, June 7), that more rent control is the solution to the housing crisis, simply does not know what they’re talking about.

Before Stephen McNeil’s Liberals introduced a rent cap in 2020, data from Statistics Canada showed that the Canadian jurisdictions with rent control saw rents increase at a higher rate than in Nova Scotia.

In 2021, the independent Affordable Housing Commission of Nova Scotia recommended the removal of the rent cap. Despite this evidence-based recommendation, the Tim Houston PC government broke its promise from the 2021 election and extended this flawed policy.

We warned politicians in 2021 that extending the rent cap would drive up rents and increase homelessness. The three political parties ignored our warnings, extended the cap and we have seen rents go up and homelessness increase.

This is not because of a “loophole,” as Chender erroneously claims. It’s because when government caps the revenues of any business, the market responds.

Chender’s rent control policy will only increase the rents in new rental units being built, which will drive up the costs of housing even more.

The solution to the housing crisis is to work with those who own and operate rental housing in Nova Scotia – the number one providers of affordable housing in the province.

We were right in 2021. We are right now.

Kevin Russell, executive director of Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia