February 9th, 2013
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.