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Fairview woman told rent going up 90%

The landlord is trying to skirt the residential tenancies act: Dalhousie Legal Aid

An apartment in Fairview is getting attention for imposing a rent increase of 90 per cent.

According to Dalhousie Legal Aid, the landlord is trying to bypass the Residential Tenancies Act.

The 63-year-old woman posted a letter from her landlord that showed her rent would increase $650 in April, on top of the $725 she currently pays.

This isn’t an isolated incident, according to Mark Culligan, a community legal worker with Dalhousie Legal Aid. 

“Unfortunately a number of other people have called from the same building over the last year with similar accounts as well,” he tells NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show.

Culligan says, based on the comments and actions of the landlord, it appears they’re simply trying to push the tenant out.

“That’s trying to bypass the residential tenancies act by jacking up the rent,” he says. 

Currently, the vacancy rate in Halifax and Dartmouth sits at about one per cent, and for that reason, Culligan says Nova Scotia needs to implement rent control to put a cap on how much landlords can increase the rent year over year.

“We have new economic conditions that call for a different legislative regime, so we need rent control in Nova Scotia so that these kinds of questions can be addressed,” he says.

In other jurisdictions, landlords can increase rent over the cap, but there’s a process involved which includes the landlord being able to prove the amount of the rent increase justified.

“In Nova Scotia, it’s a shame that we haven’t required landlords to justify rent increases like landlords are required to do so in jurisdictions where there is rent control,” says Culligan.

However, after a cabinet meeting on Thursday, when Premier Stephen McNeil was asked about the potential for implementing rent control, he said it’s not something that’s being considered. 

“We just don’t believe they work,” says McNeil.

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