Changes proposed to rules governing residential rental properties
'That is going to make everybody's life easier,' says community legal worker
People who rent in Nova Scotia would no longer need a landlord's permission to change a lease from year-to-year to month-to-month according to law amendments proposed on Tuesday.
Under the same proposed changes, landlords would no longer be forced to keep furniture or other belongings left behind by renters as long as they do currently.
Service Nova Scotia Minister Geoff MacLellan introduced about a dozen amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act.
Other changes include:
- better definition of family members, one-month's notice, and how to count days when notices must be served.
- spelling out when a landlord can show a rental unit to prospective tenants.
- giving a landlord the power to give notice that a lease is being terminated because the landlord is selling the property to someone who wants to live there.
- allowing documents to be emailed rather than hand delivered or sent by registered mail.
- automatically terminating a lease the month after a tenant dies.
Simple things can lead to big headaches
The changes are good news to Megan Deveaux, who deals with complaints from tenants who are locked in disputes with their landlords.
The community legal worker at Dalhousie Legal Aid Service is particularly happy to see the amendments spell out simple terms that create major headaches.
"That is going to make everybody's life easier," she said. "Just simple things like how many days is 15 days. That sounds silly but you'd be surprised how much confusion there is."
Dal Legal Aid was one of the groups consulted by Service Nova Scotia. Other included the Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia, ACORN, Nova Scotia Legal Aid, Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia, Housing Nova Scotia and the Manufacturer Housing Association of Atlantic Canada.
"I see a lot in here that conforms to all the things we talked about over the last year and a half in the consultation process," said Deveaux.