Legislation Supports Housing Plan, Capping Rent Increases, Addressing Supply
Nova Scotians need a safe, affordable place to call home. The housing crisis affects individuals, families and communities every day. The Province is committed to addressing the housing crisis, and today, October 28, it is introducing three pieces of legislation to support the housing plan announced last week.
Tenants will continue to be protected against large rent increases for the next two years. Colton LeBlanc, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services, introduced the Interim Residential Rental Increase Cap Act to allow for the current two per cent cap on rent increases to continue while the Province works to improve the availability of affordable housing.
The current rent cap under the ministerial directive will continue until it expires on February 1, 2022, or when the state of emergency ends, whichever occurs first. The Interim Residential Rental Increase Cap Act will apply when the current cap expires to ensure there is no gap in protection for tenants. The act will remain in place until December 31, 2023.
The interim rent cap will protect existing tenants from high rent increases.
Increasing housing supply is key to addressing the housing crisis. The Act to Establish the Executive Panel on Housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality, tabled by Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Lohr, will set up a planning task force, as announced last week. This group will report to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing but will provide advice both to the Province and municipality on how to quickly increase housing supply.
It is also important to consider the transportation issues that come with rapid growth and that is why Public Works Minister Kim Masland introduced An Act to Establish a Joint Regional Transportation Agency. The agency will work with Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) to ensure the municipality’s transportation system is prepared for a period of unprecedented growth.
The agency will also be mandated to create a five-year master transportation plan to guide their work. It will be set up as a Crown corporation and have a small staff, including technical experts selected by the Department of Public Works and HRM.
Nova Scotians are facing affordable housing challenges never seen before in our province, and we are here to support. We know we need to grow the housing supply and in the short term, we need the rent cap to give tenants certainty and peace of mind.
Colton LeBlanc, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services
We want to work together with Halifax Regional Municipality to increase housing supply and clear roadblocks. The Executive Panel on Housing will put staff from both the Province and HRM at the table together to quickly identify roadblocks and solve them, so we can build more housing quickly.
John Lohr, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Improving the flow of people and goods in and out of Halifax Regional Municipality is critical to HRM’s residents and to all Nova Scotians. The Joint Regional Transportation Agency will review roads, ferries and public transit to ensure that the transportation system is set up for growth.
Kim Masland, Minister of Public Works
- the current rent cap, introduced in November 2020, limits rent increases to two per cent per year and ends on February 1, 2022, or at the end of the provincial state of emergency, whichever is sooner
- the rent cap won’t apply to Rent Geared to Income leases under public housing programs and land-lease communities (mobile home parks) because they have their own processes for setting rental increase rates
- the Joint Regional Transportation Agency will have an advisory board appointed by the Minister of Public Works; the board will include representatives from HRM and the Department of Public Works as well as other stakeholders such as the Halifax Port Authority, Halifax International Airport Authority and Halifax Harbour Bridges
- the five-year master transportation plan developed by the agency will be approved by the provincial cabinet
Bills tabled in the legislature are available at: https://nslegislature.ca/legislative-business/bills-statutes/bills/assembly-64-session-1
A Healthy Nova Scotia: Solutions for Housing and Homelessness: https://beta.novascotia.ca/documents/solutions-housing-and-homelessness
Residential tenancy guides and information on the Residential Tenancy Act: https://beta.novascotia.ca/programs-and-services/residential-tenancies-program
Mandate letter of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: https://www.novascotia.ca/exec_council/letters-2021/ministerial-mandate-letter-2021-MAH-EMO-MR.pdf
Mandate letter of the Minister of Public Works: https://novascotia.ca/exec_council/letters-2021/ministerial-mandate-letter-2021-PW.pdf