N.S. NDP say rent control needed to make rental housing more affordable
NDP say provincial Liberals have failed to build affordable housing and protect renters
Sobaz Benjamin and family were forced to move out of their three-bedroom rental home in north-end Halifax after Hurricane Dorian struck last month and caused their roof to collapse.
The family of four lived in the home for eight years and is temporarily staying with relatives.
Finding another place to live at a price they can afford is difficult, Benjamin told reporters Wednesday at a Halifax news conference held by the provincial NDP.
"It's hard for us because as privileged as I think I am … I have a few university degrees, I have a number of years work experience in my in my field, it has been very hard despite that challenge," Benjamin said.
"My wife is gainfully employed also and finding a place on the peninsula ... seems almost impossible to find. But we're still seeking and trying."
Before their move, the couple was paying $1,250 a month for rent. Benjamin said the price for something comparable has been $2,000 and up.
Eric Johnson has been a housing support and community social worker for roughly the past eight years. He helps clients find affordable places to live.
"I've never seen it this difficult before," he said.
Nova Scotia's New Democrats have introduced legislation to implement rent control and regulate short-term rental provider Airbnb.
"In Nova Scotia, 20 per cent of households now spend more than 50 per cent of their income on rent and utilities, an absolutely unsustainable amount," Halifax Needham MLA Lisa Roberts said. "There are more than 23,000 families in this position."
In a news release, the NDP said the provincial Liberals have failed to build affordable housing and protect renters. It said that homes being converted into short-term rentals for visitors are contributing to low vacancy rates in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Business Minister Geoff MacLellan said a new Airbnb registry will be in place April 1. Before that happens, he said there will be consultations with stakeholders and the general public.
He said the registry will give government data about how the sharing economy is impacting the housing market in metro Halifax and across the province.
"This was taking place for a numbers of years now and without this data, we have no idea what the true impact is," he said.
MORE TOP STORIES