Public housing rents could increase, decrease with new changes: Lohr

On Thursday, Nova Scotia announced it would be making changes to how it calculates rent costs in its public housing program.

These changes, according to the province, will ensure rents are calculated “fairly and consistently.”

“Some tenants will see their rent decrease and some will see their rent increase, and others may see little to no change,” John Lohr, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said at press conference on Thursday.

According to the minister, the province has nine different variations of lease packages across the province, which change how much rent people pay and what is included in the lease agreement. He said the switch to the rent-geared model is to make sure it is fair for everyone.

“We know change can be difficult, and it will be an adjustment for those impacted,” Lohr said. “That’s why we are phasing in the changes over four years to give people time to adapt.”

Lohr said this is “not a cost-saving measure” for the province but instead created to ensure equality across the board.

Over the next four years, tenants paying a fixed rate amount will move to a rent-geared-to-income model, making sure no one is paying more than 30 per cent of their income towards housing.

In the first three years those that will see increases to the rent will have a projected five per cent rise per year and in the fourth year they will be paying rent geared to their income.

This change will reflect the more than 11,200 public units that pay rent based on income and will take effect starting in November. The province said about 13 per cent of people will be impacted by this change.

Those switching will receive a new lease package and will report their household income annually to remain eligible for public housing.

“Investing in public housing is one of the most important ways we can help meet the housing needs of Nova Scotians with low incomes,” Lohr said.

More than 17,500 people are in the province’s public housing system, with a “lengthy” wait list, Lohr said.

For those with increases to their rent, he said they can find some relief in heating costs, which N.S. said it pays for those on income-geared rent leases.

The province said these changes are recommendations from the Office of the Auditor General’s June 2022 report, which found policies were outdated and inconsistent across Nova Scotia.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today