CTV News Atlantic: ACORN, allies calling for landlord licensing system
Posted September 22, 2022
Published September 17th, 2022
Several people gathered in Dartmouth on Saturday with large signs and bright red t-shirts, calling on the Halifax Regional Municipality to implement a landlord licensing system, something advocates believe will improve property standards.
In an interview with CTV Atlantic, NS-ACORN leader Hannah Wood said a licensing system would involve proactive inspections of rental buildings every year, a move that would replace the current complaint system.
“It would allow buildings to be kept in better general maintenance and prevent demolition of affordable units,” Wood said. “Right now we are losing affordable units.”
Protesters are urging regional council to put the matter to a vote, requiring landlords to register buildings they own and a pay licensing fee.
Wood said that landlords can pay licensing fees by charging each unit $1, making it easier for landlords and renters to pay that amount.
Renters are currently required to file complaints to their landlord. If those complaints are not addressed, renters can file a by-law complaint.
By-law officers then assess the complaint and order issues accordingly.
However, Kevin Russell, executive director of the Investment Properties Owners Association Nova Scotia (IPOANS), said there are rules and regulations in place already and licensing landlords is not the solution.
“The data shows that there are 237 non-compliance orders issues against apartment rental buildings since 2017. That represents about only 79 violations per year,” said Russell.
ACORN has been petitioning for landlord licensing for three years. Supporters believe this will improve living conditions and renovations.
For renter, Patricia Boutlier, pests and unsafe living conditions is a reality she can’t afford leaving.
“The rent isn’t affordable for me. I’m on disability and I can’t afford anything else so I have to put up with it,” she said.
In the meantime, ACORN plans on having many more rallies in Halifax.