N.S. Community Services minister promises more help for low-income tenants amid possible rent strike

For months, tenants in the Greystone area of Spryfield have been complaining about everything from rats and mould to water leaks inside their homes. Natasha Pace/Global News

One week after Global News first reported about the possibility of a rent strike among residents of low-income housing in Halifax, Joanne Bernard, Minister of Community Services says she is pouring more resources into the Greystone area.

For months, tenants of low-income housing in Spryfield have been complaining about everything from rats and mould to water leaks inside their homes.

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Despite being vocal about the issues plaguing them, residents say nothing has been done. Fed up with ongoing issues that are not being repaired, several residents are considering holding on to their rent until something changes.

“We don’t want to pay our rent,” said tenant, Jodi Brown, on July 6.

“We want to put our money into a trust and when the maintenance is completed, then Housing can receive their rent.”

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On Thursday, minister Bernard said she is aware that residents are looking into the possibility of withholding rent until maintenance issues are fixed and told Global News her department is committing more resources to tenants.

“I hear their frustration,” Bernard said.

“I have directed staff to put more resources in terms of outside people coming in and making more efficient and timely responses to the complaints and I hear that.”

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Legal experts say in order to withhold rent from a landlord — the Nova Scotia Housing Authority in this case — the group of tenants would have to follow the provisions set out in the Tenancy Act.

No date has been set yet for the rent strike to begin.