Changes coming to N.S. tenancy act
Changes are coming this November to the Nova Scotia Residential Tenancies Act.
Outlined changes beginning Nov. 15 include giving tenants on fixed-term leases the ability to end their leases early, without financial penalties, for health reasons.
Another major change is that rent can only be 15 days late before the landlord can give a tenant notice the lease will end. Tenants used to have 30 days under the old act.
Under the old act, tenants had to occupy a residence for five years to gain tenure. In that five years, a landlord could opt not to renew a tenant without reason.
Now, when a tenant signs a lease they will automatically gain tenure. Leases, except for fixed-term leases, will automatically be renewed if tenants don't give notice to end their lease.
The new changes come too late for Jessica Bastarache. She has lived in her Dartmouth apartment for two years, and has a list of complaints about the quality of her residence.
For instance, Bastarache can't turn off the hot water in her tub.
"My house gets so steamy from it," she said.
The steam causes moisture to build up in her apartment which has led to a mould problem, causing the floor in her apartment to rot.
About a month ago, she started a petition to press harder for repairs, after that, she heard from her landlord.
"I brought in the petition and then a couple of days, you know, I got a non-renewal of lease," she said.
"After getting the petition and getting all these people to sign it, they think I'm more of a problem because of me complaining. So they just want to get rid of me, get new tenants, instead of fixing the place up while I'm in here."
She's not sure where she'll go next.
Nearby, Doris MacDonald works to organize the area's first tenancy association, which will work with landlords to solve problems.
"Automatic tenure is going to make a very positive change. It will ensure that people cannot be asked to leave at the expiration of their lease without good reason."
The CBC's calls to Bastarache's property owner, Starlight Apartments, were not returned Friday afternoon.