Renting in Halifax, Nova Scotia has become dire. The city is currently sitting at a 1.5% vacancy rate. Making it not only difficult for people to move here for job opportunities, but it’s also pushing the residents of Halifax out of their homes.
Recently a friend of my partner’s was basically “rent evicted” from her apartment. She received a notice that her rent was increasing by $800 a month! Which is not illegal for landlords of rental properties. The landlord simply has to give you 4 months notice at which point you can choose to not accept the new terms. The information can be found here. Click on the guide.
Prior to returning to Halifax, we lived in Saint John, New Brunswick for 3 years. New Brunswick has far better measures in place to protect renters. In Nova Scotia, we have far better measures in place to protect landlords.
Since landing Halifax almost 11 months ago, we have been searching for suitable housing, settling on shared accommodations for now, which is not going well. See my piece about our recent eviction.
When I was younger, students in this city, (Halifax is a University town) would maybe have 3 or 4 students sharing a house. Now you’ve got kids in sleeping blankets on floors, 8-9 in a house just to complete their education.
Another huge problem is the overabundance of Air BnBs. It seems everyone is jumping on the Air BnB bandwagon, including property owners who are buying rental units and turning them strictly into Air BnB. Why rent to tenants when you can make $140/ night? So far, no regulations have been put into place regarding Air BnBs, despite residents demanding it, but I’ll tell you this-
Halifax renters are fucking sick of Air BnBs. Not only are you losing out on rental opportunities, but you have different people coming and going, often causing destruction at neighbouring properties. You never know your neighbour anymore. This is not a new concern for residents in Halifax.
I may have tweeted the Mayor of Halifax today.
We are getting so frustrated trying to find apartments here. Apartments that just a decade ago were $800-$900 are now $1500-$2000 a month! This is Halifax not Las Vegas for fuck sake. And even though my partner, our dog and I lived in a 400 square foot, 1 bedroom apartment in Saint John, think again about sharing a 1 bedroom in Halifax. Most places don’t allow it. Most places don’t allow dogs. Here’s a brief sampling of apartment ads near me from Kijiji.
Who can afford 2- $3000 a month on rent? Buy a house if you can pay that. What the hell are you doing throwing your money away like that?
In the fledgeling economy of the Maritimes, Nova Scotia is getting slammed by rent hikes, new rules, (all in favour of the landlord), a high unemployment rate, despite statistics showing growth, I know an awful lot of people who are either out of work, can’t find work, or disabled.
Many fear this will increase the homelessness rates in the province. Halifax’s shelters are already at maximum capacity.
Something needs to be done. Renters need to take back the power from the landlords. I suggest writing your MLAs, MPs, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, Premiere McNeil and any of your local city councillors and raise the concern of housing and Air BnBs.
If we don’t raise our concerns, lower-income people, the elderly and the disabled will end up displaced. They’re already pushing us all to the outskirts of the city. Can’t see the crisis? Then I guess there’s no problem.
How is rent in your city? Are you fed up with Air BnB yet?
Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,
Further Reading (older, but still relevant)
Homeless Woman https://insp.ngo/american-students-provide-homeless/
Other images from Kijiji.ca