December 15th, 2012
Lease rules eased for domestic violence complainants
People in Nova Scotia who have filed domestic violence complaints would be able to get out of their residential leases early without penalty under proposed legislative changes introduced Monday.
Service Nova Scotia Minister John MacDonell said the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act would allow people who say they’ve been abused to get out of fixed term or year-to-year leases with one month’s notice.
“It allows them to move out of an abusive situation for their health and their family’s health and also relieves them of any financial liability that may exist with the lease,” said MacDonell.
In order to get out of the lease, a tenant would have to make an application within 90 days of obtaining an emergency protection order and file a domestic violence complaint to police.
They would need a peace bond or some other court order as well as a certificate from the province’s Director of Victims Services saying they are a victim of domestic violence.
John Joyce-Robinson, a director of victims services at the Justice Department, said the changes are modelled on similar legislation in Manitoba.
He said that legislation helped six to eight people in Manitoba in the first year it was enacted.
The change was recommended in a 2009 government report on domestic violence.