Nova Scotia Landlords Association

Welcome to the NSLA for Small Business Landlords

The Nova Scotia Landlords Association (NSLA) and its sister organization The Canada Landlords Association (CLA) are leading provincial and national organizations for private small residential landlords. We provide a unified voice for private landlords and promote and protect landlord interests to national and local government.

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Nova Scotia & PEI Tenant Screening: Tenant Credit Checks

Nova Scotia Tenant Screening Tenant Credit Checks and Tenant Criminal Checks

Landlords in our region are facing lots of challenges these days.

And while we want to discuss issues such as low rent increases the media continues to attack landlords.

After all, we are easy targets and easy for the media to define.

Another Landlord Is Trouble

According to a report on CBC News, landlord Lee Cowan of O’Leary says her rental unit has been trashed.

The landlady say when her tenants not only trashed her nice 3-bedroom property they moved out without proper notice….they didn’t even tell her!

What Damages Did The Tenants Do?

 A lot.

The landlady said the damages included:

– Appliances destroyed

– Basement was flooded and now smells horrible and has damaged the enter unit

– Cabinets have been ruined

– Drywall has been destroyed all over

Landlords and Facebook

Cowan has posted her story on Facebook and received a lot of positive replies.

Positive Replies and Support Are Not Enough

“I have gotten thousands of responses,” she said.

“To say thank you to these people is not a big enough word. I can’t think of a big enough word to say how many people have said, ‘We care.

We don’t know you but we care.’ They’re offering me all this support. 

They’re kind, caring people. Maybe they’ll help change the system a bit, so this doesn’t happen to somebody else.”

But no financial support and no answers!

Tenant Screening

These types of terrible stories are becoming more and more common in our region.

We used to think “Oh, those bad tenants are only in Ontario or Quebec.”

Sadly that isn’t true now

As this story shows, landlords need to be careful who you rent to.

If you rent to the wrong tenants you could be out thousands of dollars.

You could be ruined financially?

What Can A Landlord Do To Avoid Bad Tenants?

Smart landlords will do proper tenant screening.

Cowan simply took the money and rented to these ‘tenants from hell.’

Being a landlord in 2013 requires more than just accepting month.

You need to do proper tenant screening, including credit checks.


Don’t be a landlord victim! Always do tenant credit checks and make sure you are renting to good tenants.

Nova Scotia Landlords: Find Good Tenants

 Nova Scotia landlords no tenants

Investors become landlords because we see a business opportunity.

People need nice places to live in and investing in rental property seems like a great industry to be part of.

You’ve read some people who became landlords and although it wasn’t easy they earned enough profits to consider themselves wealthy.

With their new financial freedom they could help out family members, pay for their kids’ university tuition and even take a trip or two.

Challenges for Nova Scotia Landlords

In past blogs we’ve discussed some of the challenges Nova Scotia landlords face.

One of the biggest challenges is what you face if you rent to bad tenants.

It used to be we thought all the worst tenants were in Ontario.

And they still are, as this Ottawa landlord can attest to.

Landlords all over Canada face the ‘bad tenant’ challenge, even Manitoba landlords face this challenge.

Bad Tenants In Nova Scotia

We wrote before about what happened to small landlord Lee Cowan.

She’s the landlord who rented to a group of tenants and after they moved out (without proper legal notice) she found they had trashed the place including:

– Appliances destroyed

– Basement was flooded and now smells horrible and has damaged the enter unit

– Cabinets have been ruined

– Drywall has been destroyed all over

Lack of Tenants

Another problem landlords in our area face is something that isn’t common in other areas of Canada, even places like Manitoba.

It’s a lack of good tenants.

As a recent CBC News report illustrated landlords can find enough renters to fill their properties.

Some landlords are even offering move theaters and gyms where tenants can work out in their rental buildings.

And get ready for this…some landlords are offering tenants free TVs, yoga, rebates from local dentists and even Apple Ipads if you rent from them.

Landlords in Nova Scotia, PEI and Elsewhere in the Region

Have you found good tenants for your rental properties?

What do you think will happen in 2015?

Discuss this in the Nova Scotia Landlords Forum

P.E.I. Landlords Can Raise the Rent by 2% in 2014

P.E.I. Landlords Rent Increase 2014


Good news for P.E.I. landlords.

This is especially important with all the bad news for landlords we’ve seen over the past year in the region.

The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (also known as IRAC)  had meetings on whether or not there should be a rent increase and, if so, what the allowable rent increase should be.

In its report, IRAC said it received eight submissions from tenants, one from a landlord and one from anti-poverty group Alert.

According to the Guardian website starting Jan. 1, 2014, landlords will be allowed to increase rent for heated premises by two per cent, while rent for unheated premises and mobile homes in trailer parks can go up by one per cent.

How does that compare to other provinces? Well according to the Ontario Landlords AssociationOntario landlords can raise the rent 0.8% in 2014.

In its report on the increases, IRAC said it considered submissions from the public, the vacancy rates in P.E.I., the province’s economic outlook, increases in other provinces, consumer price index forecasts and previous allowed rent increases.

Although IRAC approved an increase, that doesn’t necessarily mean rent will go up the full amount or at all because it is at the landlord’s discretion, as long as they don’t go above the maximum allowed.

Among the concerns tenants raised were the negative effects of a rent increase on people with fixed incomes, above average construction of new rental units and the negative effects an increase would have on students.

IRAC has allowed rent increases every year for the last 10 years, including in 2013 when landlords were able to raise it by as much as five per cent for heated premises and three per cent for unheated.

The report showed rents went up in Charlottetown for 2013 where the average for a two-bedroom unit reached $831 compared to $797 in 2012.

Summerside’s average was $697 in 2013 compared to $669 last year.

That was despite an overall vacancy rate of 7.8 per cent across the province, which was up from 4.8 per cent in 2012.

While IRAC found property taxes are expected to be within the range of consumer price index increases and electricity rate increases will be stable for several years, heating oil prices 35 per cent over the past four years.

To Discuss This And Other Landlord Issues Go To the Canada Landlords Forum!

Prince Edward Island Landlords Can Raise the Rent By 2.0% in 2014

oct 1 trashed

A woman in western P.E.I. says she’s facing financial ruin as a result of renting out her house.

O’Leary resident Lee Cowan told CBC News tenants trashed her three-bedroom home then moved out last month without telling her.

Lee Cowan

Lee Cowan surveys the damage done in the kitchen and dining room in her O’Leary home. (CBC)

She said the basement of the house was flooded, drywall is torn off walls, and cabinets and appliances are ruined. The damage has been reported to police.

Cowan said insurance won’t cover all the damage, but since posting photos on Facebook she has been overwhelmed by support.

“I have gotten thousands of responses,” she said.

“To say thank you to these people is not a big enough word. I can’t think of a big enough word to say how many people have said, ‘We care. We don’t know you but we care.’ They’re offering me all this support. They’re kind, caring people. Maybe they’ll help change the system a bit, so this doesn’t happen to somebody else.”

Insurance adjustors are still tallying the cost of repairing damage to the home. Cowan is looking for legal advice on what to do next.

Sept 1 Ipad

Lunenburg County – Hard To Find A Place To Call Home

September 1st, 2013

 Affordable Rental Housing

According to a report in the Chronical Herald affordable housing is still a serious problem in Lunenburg County, despite the formation three years ago of a coalition to raise awareness of the issue.

Helen Lanthier of the South Shore Housing Action Coalition says more than 50 per cent of Lunenburg County residents make less than $25,000 a year, and with 91.4 per cent of housing owned, very few apartments are available.

Lanthier went before District of Lunenburg council Tuesday morning, saying, “We’re not here to ask for money,” but to ask for support to promote an affordable housing plan for the region.

Council did pass a motion in 2010 to create a committee to develop an affordable housing plan, but then opted instead to appoint a councillor to the newly formed action coalition. It was formed that year to work for quality, safe and affordable housing in Lunenburg and Queens counties.

The coalition pointed at the time to a shortage of rental units in the region, citing also a lack of different types of housing, such as condominiums and co-operative housing. Lanthier said 34 per cent of renters in Lunenburg County spent more than 30 per cent of their income on housing.

She told councillors Tuesday that when the coalition formed, it believed that “without concrete steps, this situation is likely to get worse before it gets better, mainly because of an aging population.”

And she said that’s exactly what has happened. “Nothing’s changed. The issues of 2010 remain the issues of 2013.”

Lanthier said many renters don’t complain about problems, such as mould, poor maintenance and heating for fear of retribution from the landlord or owner. This is very different than in Ontario where tenants are encouraged to complain by the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Nancy Green, a former home visitor with South Shore Health’s public health services, told of one family of four that lived in a one-bedroom unit with black mould, a leaky roof and poor insulation. They had to use the food bank in part because the father missed work because he was sick from their living conditions.

Their rent was $700 a month when they moved in, and went up by $50 a month.

“The story of (that family) is one that is being played out along the South Shore,” Green said. “Something must be done to improve housing. A house is not just a shelter, it’s a home. It’s where we grow, celebrate, relax and seek comfort. A house is not a home when it’s inadequate.”

A lack of affordable housing also impacts the sustainability and economic viability of a community, Lanthier said, making it a challenge for businesses to keep workers and leading to increased health-care costs.

She said the coalition is asking all municipal councils on the South Shore to commit to development of a local housing action plan. Whether that’s done jointly or individually, “it’s the foundation for changing the nature of affordable housing on the South Shore,” she said.

“The need is real, there’s no question,” said Mayor Don Downe, with affordable housing as great an issue in Lunenburg County as it is in Vancouver.

He said the province’s recently released housing strategy is “a good starting point, but there needs to be some federal and provincial money put into the program to provide the services that people really require to be able to stay in our communities.”

Down said he will take the issue to a regional meeting in September of municipal councils from Lunenburg, Queens and Halifax counties. He hopes the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities will then vote to push the province to work on an affordable housing strategy for urban and rural communities across the province.

To discuss this and other Landlord and Tenant Issues go to the free Nova Scotia Landlords Forum

Prince Edward Island Landlords Face Climbing Vacancy Rates

July 7, 2013

 Prince Edward Island landlord

As Vacancy Rate Climbs Prince Edward Island Landlords Face Challenges

According to a report by CBC News vacancy rates on Prince Edward Island continue to climb, landlords are having a tough time finding tenants to fill empty rentals.

As if landlords in the region don’t already have enough challenges the most recent numbers from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) show the vacancy rate in the province’s urban centres is sitting at about 7.8 per cent, up about three per cent from last year.

The number of vacant rental units in Charlottetown jumped to 8.7 per cent in April, up from five per cent the same month last year. CMHC said new units in Charlottetown are the biggest factor in the increase.

Landlord Daniel Rashed Gave Up

After eight months of trying to rent out his condo, landlord Daniel Rashed finally gave up.

“I kept dropping the price, including everything — parking, heating, cable, whatever I had to do — but I didn’t get the response that I thought I would,” he said.

Rashed, who manages 10 rental units, decided to use the condo as office space for his real estate business instead.

“It does have a big impact. One unit empty that could be $10,000 a year, or $12,000 a year that’s not going back into the mortgage and maintenance and heating,” he said.

Where Are the Tenants?

Rashed said he’s one of many landlords around the city having difficulty finding tenants. And he wants to avoid problem tenants.

Meanwhile, at least one developer said hearing the latest CMHC numbers for Charlottetown makes him happy about his latest deal.

In May, Dico Reijers sold eight apartment buildings — 172 units in all — to real estate giant Killam Properties Inc.

“We hustled pretty hard trying to get these units full and while we never got to those numbers there were a couple months where we might have been pretty close to that,” he said.

“That really affects the bottom line for a small business like us.”

According to the CMHC, more Islanders are renting but not enough to keep pace with new construction.

Landlord: We need tenants


Nova Scotia landlords need tenants

Atlantic region struggles to fill new office space, panel told


The Atlantic region needs to attract more companies to fill empty office space as landlords battle for the same number of tenants, delegates at a real estate conference heard Tuesday.

Todd Bechard, Atlantic region executive vice-president for Cominar REIT, said during a panel discussion at the Atlantic Real Estate Forum in Halifax that more work needs to be done to attract new tenants to the region.

“That’s the opportunity we need to be (looking at) more and more, is to try and bring new tenants into these markets, because literally we’re all stealing (from each other). We’re talking about the Nova Centre. Well, they better bring in tenants from outside because, otherwise, you’re stealing from everybody else.”

The competition for new tenants is particularly fierce in Halifax, as suburban landlords vie to fill new space in sprawling new developments, while downtown owners are looking to keep pace.

According to a recent CBRE Ltd. report, overall vacancy in Halifax was 9.7 per cent in the first quarter.

The downtown rate fell to 10.3 per cent, while the suburban rate rose to 9.2 per cent from the previous quarter.

A humorous exchange between Barry Stockall of Crombie REIT and William Hardman of Hardman Group highlighted how competitive the office market is in Halifax.

Speaking about tenants’ desire for amenities such security and parking space, Stockall, senior director of office leasing at Crombie, noted how much work is being done to compete with the suburban market.

“The more you give them, the easier it gets to lease the space. The lobbies, the buildings, are being constantly upgraded to try to compete with Bill and his new buildings now in Burnside (Park). You’ve got to be pretty sharp,” Stockall said, referring to the new $50-million business campus at the corner of Wright Avenue and Burnside Drive that Hardman Group is developing.

“We haven’t stolen any of your (tenants) yet,” Hardman said.

“And you’re not going to, either,” Stockall replied, eliciting laughs from the room.

Halifax Developments Ltd., owned and managed by Sobey family-controlled Crombie REIT, is planning to build a three-storey addition to Scotia Square between Barrington Tower and the Delta Halifax.

Earlier this year, the company also received approval to build another three-storey, 100,000-square-foot addition of class A office space dubbed Westhill on Duke at the corner of Duke and Albemarle streets.

Hardman said tenants’ preference to relocate to the suburbs stem from their need for buildings that offer new amenities that also promise lower operating costs, something that has been lacking downtown until recently.

“We look at it and say that it’s really an evolution of choices for tenants,” he said.

“You have a market in Halifax that has not seen a lot of new product. And so when you do, all of a sudden, have a new product that comes into the market, it gives tenants a choice to finally see something that’s brand new, that has a number of bells and whistles.”

But Hardman said with work underway on the Nova Centre, the TD Centre expansion and the RBC Waterside Centre, downtown Halifax is on the verge of a comeback, creating a more balanced environment.

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