Nova Scotia

HRM looks to sell homes it owns

The Halifax Regional Municipality wants to get rid of some of the nine homes it owns — bought up over the years to accommodate road-widening projects.

Bought for street-widening projects

The Halifax Regional Municipality wants to get rid of some of the nine homes it owns — bought up over the years to accommodate road-widening projects.

The city has finally found a buyer for the house it owns on Chebucto Road, but it's being sold at a loss two years after the street was widened.

The city paid more than $400,000 for the home; it recently sold for $319,000.

When the deal closes in August, the city will still own eight homes in the region — from Herring Cove Road to Queen Street and up near Middle Sackville. All of them are rented out.

Connaught-Quinpool Coun. Jennifer Watts's district said the city shouldn't be in the business of buying homes. The city owns three homes in her district, the one on Chebucto Road and two on Bayers Road.

"HRM doesn't want to be a landlord. That's not how we see our role," she said. "But, in some cases, it does make sense to purchase properties when there are long-term plans."

Last year the city bought two houses on Bayers Road, another street on peninsular Halifax that could be widened. But, even if that project is approved, it's years away.

Watts said that in the meantime, the city is a reluctant landlord.

"I mean, we don't want to have that responsibility and ongoing maintenance costs and trying to make the decisions. Does a property need a new roof? Do we have to do that right away when we want to sell in two or three years time?" she said.

The city may finally sell the house on Herring Cove Road — 21 years after buying it for another road project.

Over the years, the city has replaced the roof and carpet, and made repairs like any landlord. The rent is $800 a month.

Another city-owned house down the road is also up for review.

Steve Trussoni hopes to stay put in his city-owned home on Dingle Road.

He moved into the heritage home six years ago.

"It would be nice to have new plumbing, it seems like it's getting a little mouldy in places. But, I mean, other than that it's reasonably well kept. We're quite happy with the relationship," Trussoni said.

The city doesn't make a lot of money renting out homes it owns. Last year, it amounted to $47,000.

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