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Nova Scotia caps rent increases at 2% a year, halts renovictions

A drone's-eye view of apartment buildings in north-end Dartmouth, taken Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020.
A drone's-eye view of apartment buildings in north-end Dartmouth on Wednesday. The provincial government is capping rent increases at two per cent until 2022 and banning evictions for renovations. - Tim Krochak
HALIFAX, N.S. —

The Nova Scotia government is putting a cap on rent increases, instituting eviction protections, creating a commission to look at affordable housing and committing $1.7 million to address homelessness.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Chuck Porter made the announcement on Wednesday.

Rents will not be permitted to increase by more than two per cent per year and landlords will not be able to get an eviction order for renovations according to the new protections under the Emergency Management Act, according to a news release. Porter is also minister responsible for the Act.

The new Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission will work with experts in multiple sectors to make recommendations about affordable housing strategies and actions.

"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 the 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."

As well, a $1.7 million investment to address homelessness is slotted to replace 30 beds that were taken out of the system due to physical distancing requirements under COVID-19 health protocols. More details will be shared in the coming days, the release said.

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, 2020.

Members of the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission include: Catherine Berliner, Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing (co-chair), Ren Thomas, Dalhousie University (co-chair), Chief Sidney Peters, Tawaak Housing Association, Karen Brodeur, Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada, Fred Deveaux, Cape Breton Community Housing Association, Jim Graham, Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, Mike Dolter, Association of Municipal Administrators Nova Scotia, Jeremy Jackson, Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia, Alex Halef, Urban Development Institute, Gordon Laing, Southwest Properties, Kelly Denty, Halifax Regional Municipality, Michelle MacFarlane, Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services, and Joy Knight, Department of Community Services.

Members will also be appointed from Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Department of Health and Wellness, and Department of Justice.

The commission's first set of recommendations are expected be submitted to Porter within the next six months.

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