Nova Scotia ACORN Members sent a letter signed by dozens of participants from our Tenant’s Rights Townhall to all major parties. We provided the following recommendations on low-cost, easy to implement reforms to improve affordability and habitability of rental housing in Nova Scotia:
-Bring back rent control to Nova Scotia by re-implementing the Rent Review Act.
-Revising the Residential Tenancy Act to allow to tenants’ to file a collective complaint against their landlord.
-Provincial support for enforcing municipal minimum standards by-laws to ensure the health and safety of tenants.
Here are the party responses:
The Green Party was overwhelming supportive of ACORN’s policy suggestions. They spoke eloquently about the need to reduce income inequality (particularly in housing), supporting NS municipalities in enforcing housing standards bylaws and were committed to progressive reforms of the Residential Tenancies Act. While it is unlikely the Green Party will elect an MLA, we hope they will serve as a voice for tenant’s rights in NS.
“The Green Party of Nova Scotia understands that true prosperity of the province must be built first on meeting the basic needs of every Nova Scotian; secure access to affordable shelter is a basic needs”
The NDP did not address any of our suggestions directly. They spoke to their record in government. The NDP is responsible for the creation of the first housing strategy in our province. While they did make reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act, the impact on tenants is a mixed bag. We hope that in the future the NDP will take into account the voice of the grassroots more seriously.
“The NDP will keep working to create a good supply of decent, affordable housing, will take more specific steps that reduce homelessness, and stands ready to improve the Residential Tenancies Act. That includes specific consideration of the amendments you propose, and discussion of by-law enforcement with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities.”
The Progressive Conservatives decidedly came down against rent control. They did seem warm towards discussion of support for municipalities in enforcing minimum standards and reforming the residential tenancies act to allow tenants to make collective complaints against a landlord. While willing to talk, they made no solid commitments.
“For now, we have no plans to change the law on rent controls.”
The Liberal Party did not respond to our letter. We do know that Liberal candidates have spoken against rent control in candidate debates and the last Liberal government removed rent control.