Advocate for property owners says a property tax hike in HRM would worsen housing crisis

By CityNews Halifax Staff

The head of the Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia says a proposed property tax bump would only make the housing crisis worse.

This comes as Halifax Regional Municipality’s budget committee meets today to review a staff report recommending a big jump in property taxes.

The staff report being tabled is recommending a 9.7 per cent increase to the average property tax bill in Halifax in order to tackle inflationary pressures and population growth.

While its still early in the process, executive director Kevin Russell tells CityNews Halifax that is troubling news for renters and owners in HRM.

He says his association members have been struggling to pay last year’s taxes under the two per cent rent cap already.

“Higher taxes, I can tell you, will result in higher rents for new units coming to market,” he says. “And higher taxes will result in higher rents for first-time and new renters.”

Russell adds under rent control, a nearly 10 percent tax hike would be a big hit for property owners, noting many small rental providers would likely be forced to exit the industry.

That, he says, could displace renters into a market that has a vacancy rate of less than 1 percent, only adding to the municipality’s already critical housing crisis.

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