Nova Scotia announced Wednesday immediate protections for renters amid COVID-19 that would keep them safe from rent increases and renovictions while the province works on longer-term solutions.
According to Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Chuck Porter, the immediate protections ordered under the Emergency Management Act are as follows:
- Rents cannot increase by more than two percent per year
- Landlords will not be able to get an eviction order for renovations
The province said in a statement that it is also creating the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission. It will work with experts in the public, private, non-profit and academic sectors to make recommendations about affordable housing strategies and actions.
The commission’s first set of recommendations will be submitted to Porter within the next six months.
“It is clear that our housing market is going through an unprecedented situation, made worse by COVID-19, and people need us to take immediate action as we look for sustainable solutions,” Porter said in a press release.
“We will be working with our partners to identify opportunities and make evidence-based decisions that put us on the right path forward for Nova Scotians.”
Homelessness in the Halifax area is another issue that the province is looking into, announcing that an investment of $1.7 million will replace 30 beds that were taken out of the system due to physical distancing requirements under coronavirus health protocols.
“More details, including the finalization of a service provider, will be shared in the coming days,” the province said.
In the meantime, the protections for renters will be in place until Feb. 1, 2022, or until the state of emergency is lifted, whichever is sooner. Rental increase protections are retroactive to Sept. 1.