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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Truro chosen as an affordable housing project site

http://www.trurodaily.com/News/Local/2013-05-06/article-3237704/TRURO-TOWN-COUNCIL—Truro-chosen-as-an-affordable-housing-project-site/1

By Monique Chiasson and Harry Sullivan

Truro Daily News

TRURO – The Town of Truro has officially been named one of the few places in Nova Scotia to become involved in a new long-term housing strategy.

During the next 10 years, $500 million will be spent to support new and enhanced affordable housing projects and programs in the province. A graduate home ownership program to encourage young people stay in their communities may also be implemented.

Town Coun. Greg MacArthur was in Dartmouth on Monday when the announcement was made by Premier Darrell Dexter and Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse.

“Truro is very lucky. There’s a big need for it here … we want to make sure no one is without affordable housing and make sure people feel they are a part of society,” MacArthur told the Truro Daily News after informing town council about the good news on Monday afternoon. He said Halifax and Bridgewater were also taking part in the project, along with a few other Nova Scotia sites.

Among the programs that Housing Nova Scotia is considering are down payment assistance, lease-to-own opportunities, the graduate home ownership program, and retrofit programs to help seniors and families caring for loved ones with disabilities stay in their homes longer.

Locally, MacArthur said the former Alice Street Elementary School property could be the model used in this area. A public hearing will be held on June 10 at the next regular monthly town council meeting to discuss a potential agreement with Meech Holdings Ltd. to create a 28-unit development that could be incorporated in the new initiative.

MacArthur said the project will assist people needing a more affordable home as well as dealing with landlords who neglect their property.

“They could be given money for their property and it would be bought by a reputable landlord and move the tenant there,” MacArthur said.

The councillor said the project is coming to fruition in part by the efforts of Truro Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann.

“We’ve worked for more than a year with Lenore on this,” MacArthur said.

Zann said the initiative is great news, indeed.

“I’m thrilled and excited and I’m really happy for the people of the province, because this is so needed,” she said, adding the effort is also a way to deal with homelessness.

“Because this will do away with shelters. Really, shelters will become something that will not be necessary. That’s what we’re hoping.”

The housing strategy was built on themes that emerged from province-wide public consultations held last year with more than 500 Nova Scotians, including non-profit and community organizations engaged in housing issues, housing developers, governments, and residents.

In addition, developers and municipalities will have the opportunity to work with the Atlantic Co-operative Council, Canada Co-operative Council or Habitat for Humanity.

MacArthur said the next step locally is to meet with government department officials and make formal decisions about the Alice Street property.

Nova Scotia set to tackle affordable housing challenge (what about private landlords?)

May 5th, 2013 facing challenges

 

According to a new report in the Chronical Herald, Nova Scotia is finally getting ready to table a new strategy to create more affordable housing in the province. Where is the good news for private landlords?

Municipality of the District of Lunenburg Mayor Don Down says in his area there is a tremendous need for affordable housing. He stated it’s both an urban and rural issue.

District councillors listened carefully in March as the Minister for Housing and in charge of the Housing Development Corporation of Nova Scotia outlined the provinces new strategy.

Denise Peterson-Rafuse said the new strategy will be a new approach and be different than anything before.

She said the province needs a strong plan if we are to move forward. No plan means no movement and no progress.

Nova Scotia has some of the oldest public housing in Canada. Many units need major repairs, as fast!

Tenants already face lots of problems here. The Minister made it clear that the facts show more serious problems than are visible. “For those who need and require affordable housing, there’s a long wait list. We know that,” the minister said.

And she said the issue of homelessness differs across the province. “There seems to be more attention to homelessness in urban areas, it’s more noticed, but there’s a silent homelessness in rural Nova Scotia that’s not often discussed,” she said.

Peterson-Rafuse said she wants to look at different models for communities, and she wants the communities to say what they think will work for them.

“We’re very open to mould the project to the way that you feel it needs to be and what you feel is best for you as a municipality, what is the best for you as a community,” she said.

The minister said the province wants to partner with developers, community groups and municipalities, which Downe said could work well in turning empty schools into rental or private properties, multi-residential or seniors complexes.

While we applaud the minister for finally taking action on this issue, we wonder why there isn’t more support for residential landlords? Even though we don’t have the same problems landlords in Ontario have, landlords here still a lot of issues that need to be addressed!

To discuss this and other issues facing Nova Scotia landlords and tenants go to the Nova Scotia Landlord Forum.

May 1 Lease rules eased for domestic violence complainants 50%

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.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2012/11/27/ns-domestic-violence-lease.html

Tenants Find It Hard To Get Insurance In Saint John’s North End

 April 6th, 2013

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Tenants Are Finding It Hard to Get Insured In Area With High Crime and Fire Rates

According to a CBC report tenants in St. John’s north end are finding if very tough to be able to get tenant insurance.

Tenant Carla Bigney tried to get insurance when she moved into the area. She explained each time she applied she was turned down with the excuse that the area was a “high crime area.” This is just another problem faced by tenants in our region.

According to advocates in the community was Bigney faced is common for tenants in the area. They admit there are buildings in the area which have been boared up and one that’s been a target for those doing arson.

Bigney says she didn’t do anything wrong and crimes happen everywhere. Her rental apartment is right across both a church and a fire department. She wonders what the rationality is behind her being refused insurance. While we often read about tenants who do bad things, in this case a good tenant such as Carla simply wants to protect herself.

Ronald Godin is the Consumer Advocate for Insurance for our province. He explains insurance companies simply aren’t attracted to areas with high crime rates and older homes. Thus, they aren’t interested in placed like the north end. This means if insurance companies aren’t attracted, the area will also not attract investors.

Godin says that tenant insurance is different than auto insurance which has rules forcing the insurance companies to provide auto insurance all over Canada.

According to Godin,”Basically if a company does not want to take you on as a client, you have to try with another company and so on and so fort. It is possible that a person will not be able to obtain insurance in those circumstances.”

To discuss this and other Nova Scotia Landlord and Tenant issues go to the Nova Scotia Landlords Forum and network with thousands of other landlords and tenants across Canada.

P.E.I. Tenant Surprised When His Landlord Refused To Provide a Rent Receipt

March 21st, 2013

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Today’s topic is about rent receipts. According to a report on CBC News, a Charlottetown tenant was amazed his landlord refused to give him a receipt after he paid his rent.

What Did the Landlord Say?

The tenant, Leonard Handrahan, asked his landlord for a receipt and she told him they simply do not provide rent receipts.

What Did He Do Next?

Handrahan contacted the government for help. After all, there have been many new rules put into place for landlords in the region recently.

Did He Receive Help?

He said he was astonished there are no laws in P.E.I. making a landlord provide a rent receipt to their tenants. He has now made it his mission to get the law changed so he can make sure to get rent receipts in the future.

Why Does He Need a Receipt So Badly?

He recently moved out of his old place and into a new rental unit. He needed receipts from his previous landlord because he needs proof of rent because he’s on income support. He requires a lot of medication which is paid for by income support. Handrahan says that at any time the government could demand to see all his receipts or he could lose the benefit.

What Did  Handrahan’s Former Landlord Say About This?

His former landlord said he didn’t even ask her for receipts until he had already vacated the unit.

Handrahan denies this.

Has the Government Commented on This Case?

According to the P.E.I. director for residential rental property, the whole issue about receipts isn’t common.

However, she said changing the law would be a good idea and would avoid these types of conflicts which are common in other provinces such as Ontario.

To discuss this and other issues facing landlords, join our Landlord Forum and network with thousands of other landlords across Canada.

Halifax Landlord – Fined $93,500 for having extra apartments!

February 9th, 2013

Halifax landlord fined for extra rental apartments

A Halifax landlord has been hit with a record fine for violating the municipality’s land-use bylaws.

With already confusion in the landlord community over new rules for landlords the media reports of this huge fine has shocked many Nova Scotia landlords.

In this post we’ll give an overview of what happened.

In January the company Hanstholm Realty Inc. were ordered to pay a fine of $93,500 after they went to provincial court in Halifax where they lost their case.

According to the prosecutor in the case (who represented the Halifax Regional Municipality) this was the largest fine for land usage in Canadian history!

Previously the largest fine was approximately $30,000.

The huge fine reflected the landlords profit from creating 7 more rental units in the building, with an additional premium of forty percent added.

The whole situation is because the building was legally allowed to have 101 rental units. This was agreed upon in an agreement between the landlord and the city government.

However, in 2009 the city of Halifax found the extra units. The landlords corporation didn’t agree to the various options presented to them by the government which led to the fines.

Of course Nova Scotia landlords need to follow the law at all times. 

However, we think governments should also work hard to encourage landlords to create more affordable and safe rental properties. We’ve seen situation in other provinces where the government says there is a shortage of affordable housing and at the same time punished landlords who create it.

Government needs to work with private landlords to create an environment where investment is welcomed. Certainly go after those who break the rules. At the same time let’s make sure those rules are fair and respect the important role private landlords play in our economy and our society.

To discuss this and other issues go to the Nova Scotia Landlord Forum.

tro/217936-halifax-landlord-fihttp://thechronicleheraldhttp://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/217936-halifax-landlord-fined-93500-for-having-extra-apartments.ca/mened-93500-for-having-extra-apartments

Nova Scotia Landlords Question – How Much Can I Raise the Rent in 2013?

January 8th, 2013

 Nova scotia landlords how much can i raise the rent in 2013

Nova Scotia Landlords Can Raise the Rent 3% in 2013

Unlike in Alberta, landlords in Nova Scotia can only increase the rent for current tenants as much as the government will allow.

The government Residential Tenancies program announces an Annual Allowable Rent Increase Amount (AARIA).

The AARIA is published annually before April 1st.  The published amount is the limit landlords can increase rents from January 1st to December 31st for the year following.

The 2013 allowable rent increase (between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013) is 3.0%.

In Ontario landlords can raise the rent by 2.5% in 2013.

In British Columbia landlords can raise the rent by 3.8% in 2013.

In Manitoba landlords can raise the rent by 1% in 2013.

How Does the Government Calculate AARIA?

The formula for calculating the annual AARIA is (X + Y) ÷ 2.

  • X = the annual average percentage change for the Consumer Price Index* for the calendar year immediately before the year the annual allowable rent increase amount is published.
  • Y = the annual average percentage change for the Consumer Price Index for the calendar year immediately before the calendar year used for X.

If the annual average percentage change for the Consumer Price Index for a given year is a negative value, the percentage change that will be used to calculate the AARIA will be 0.0 % for that year.

* the Consumer Price Index means the all-items Consumer Price Index for Nova Scotia, not seasonally adjusted, published by Statistics Canada.

How To Give Your Tenants A Rent Increase

A landlord may give tenants in a land-lease community a rental increase that is anywhere between zero and the AARIA, using the Notice of Rent Increase form provided.

The Guideline Rate of 3% Is Too Low

If a landlord wishes to give a rent increase that is higher than AARIA, the landlord must make an application to director using the guidelines in the Landlord’s Guide to Residential Tenancies.  This can be a complicated process.  It’s a good reason to make sure you find great tenants.

New Rules for Nova Scotia Landlords

December 1st, 2012

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Nova Scotia Landlords Are Facing Unfair Rules as the Government Caters to Tenants and Activists and Changes the Residential Tenancies Act

What’s Going On?

The government has created new rules for landlords and tenants.

Why Are They Making Changes?

No doubt this has a lot to do with the fact over 30% of the population are renters.

When Did These Changes Become Law?

November 15th, 2012.

When Was the Last Time Changes Were Made?

It was a decade ago.

Why Now?

Again, there are a lot of voter out there, um, I mean, tenants out there. And even the most ridiculous tenant is a potential voter.

So What are the Changes?

The main changes are:

#1 Landlords can charge a maximum $75 sublet fee.

#2 Zero per cent interest rate earned on security deposits

#3 Land-lease community landlords can increase rent annually by an amount dictated by Residential Tenancies.

#4 Rental contracts, except fixed-term leases, are automatically renewed.

#5 Tenants can terminate fixed-term leases early for health reasons.

#6 If rent is 15 days late, landlords can give tenants a 15-day notice to quit. Tenants can pay rent, end the lease or appeal the notice.

Hmmm, I Don’t See Anything To Help Landlords With Bad Tenants

That’s because there isn’t anything to help. The issue has been ignored by the government and most of those in the media. It’s why you better be prepared for the worst if you are a landlord. And if you don’t have the time to be prepared, hire an excellent property management company that offers elite services.

Why?

It’s not ‘cool’ to talk about bad tenants. It’s far easier to frame all renters as ‘victims.’ After all, the elite thinks, who will rent with housing prices so relatively cheap here compared to the rest of Canada. The tenant activist and the government don’t care about landlords getting cheated in Nova Scotia.

I’m Confused About Point #5. 

Okay.

This Looks To Be A Recipe For Abuse…And An Easy Way To Get Out of A Fixed Term Lease

Yes.

Getting out of your legal responsibility for ‘health reasons’ creates a very slippery slope and is open to abuse as some tenants will see it as an invitation to break a lease. There are lots of manipulative tenants out there.

What Is the End Result of This?

The end result is the province is looking backward and not forward.

How So?

Instead of encouraging investment, the new laws seem to view landlords as ‘villains’ and tenants as ‘victims.’

Real life is different.

The government is short-sited and mistaken with these new changes to the laws governing landlords and tenants.

If you are a landlord in Nova Scotia you need to do careful tenant screening, including credit checks and be fully aware the government is biased against you and and doesn’t care about the risk you have taken investing in rental properties.

That’s Harsh!

That’s reality. If Nova Scotia doesn’t appreciate the investments of landlords then maybe Nova Scotia landlords should look elsewhere to invest.

Landlords Make Sure you Do Proper Tenant Screening, Including Credit Checks, And Only Rent to Responsible Tenants. If you Get Bad Tenants, The Government Has Made It Clear: You Are On Your Own! To Discuss this and Other Nova Scotia Landlord Issues, Go to the Free Nova Scotia Landlords Forum.

Charlottetown apartment boom creates renter’s market Vacancy rates rise as construction continues

 

Charlottetown apartment boom creates renter’s market

Vacancy rates rise as construction continues

The city has seen the addition of 1,000 apartments in the last four years. (CBC)

Vacancy rates in Prince Edward Island’s capital city have doubled in the past two years, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. A report by the CMHC says the rate in Charlottetown is now hovering at five per cent.

“There should be an ample supply of apartments available at all rent ranges and all ages. We are seeing increased vacancies right across the board,” said Jason Beaton of the CMHC.

The vacancies are – in part – due to new construction. The city has seen 1,000 new apartments built in the last four years.

Norray Properties has 30 buildings in the city with a total 320 units. Management tells CBC News about 10 per cent of their apartments are not rented.

Beaton said CHMC will release a new set of rental numbers in the coming weeks. He expects it will, once again, favour renters.

“We expect vacancy rates will rise from their current level,” he said. “There’s still several hundred apartments under construction.”

Tenants making a move

For tenants, the over-supply is good news. Companies are offering deals such as free rent for the first month as a way to lure in new renters.

“We’ll definitely make more of an effort to see what’s available to me and see if I can’t take advantage of what’s out there,” said Ruby Madigan.

She recently moved to the city from Colorado and hopes to move out of her current apartment soon. Madigan’s neighbourhood is noisy because it’s an area populated by students.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/story/2012/11/27/pei-vacancy-rates-584.html

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