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Halifax’s landlord registry needs to be made public, ACORN says



Lisa Hayhurst is crossing her fingers {that a} proposed necessary landlord registry earlier than Halifax council will lastly get her condo constructing as much as scratch.

The Dartmouth resident says it’s been a nightmare coping with well being and security issues at her constructing, starting from mould to damaged steps. She’s tried to get these issues fastened by following the traditional route by calling 311.

That’s presupposed to get a bylaw enforcement officer concerned and ensure her landlord is following the minimal constructing necessities beneath town’s M-200 bylaw.

However she’s nonetheless ready for these repairs, she says.

The proposed landlord registry program would require each landlord to be registered with town and submit a upkeep plan. It is supposed to forestall rental properties from falling into disrepair. It is also supposed to permit municipal enforcement officers to trace properties to make sure they meet minimal constructing requirements.    

For greater than 4 years, Nova Scotia ACORN (Affiliation of Neighborhood Organizations for Reform Now) has lobbied town to implement such a registry. Town itself has been mulling the thought for a few decade.  

The proposal went earlier than metropolis council on Tuesday, passing the primary studying.

Hayhurst and ACORN held a rally in entrance of Metropolis Corridor on Tuesday, with the intention to guarantee that the proposal really will get handed and turns into actuality.

Hayhurst, chair of Dartmouth’s ACORN chapter, isn’t the one renter in Nova Scotia enduring substandard dwelling situations. It’s an growing downside, notably in Halifax the place renovictions have gotten more and more widespread. Having a landlord registry would go far in holding delinquent landlords accountable, she stated.

“Buildings are falling aside and renters deserve higher,” she stated. “We’d like a system in place that forces landlords to do necessary repairs which might be wanted on models.”

However there are points with the proposed registry. Whereas this system would come with extra requirements for landlords to satisfy, plus fines starting from $150 to $10,000, it is unclear how rigorous this system could be. 

Names of property house owners within the registry will not initially be made public. Metropolis employees estimates there are about 80,000 rental models in HRM.

Peter Duncan, town’s engineering and constructing requirements director, stated at Tuesday’s assembly that constructing requirements wish to get to the purpose of publishing all the registry but it surely’s sophisticated. 

“There’s danger with publishing the registry with out having an excellent baseline for compliance information. The very last thing you wish to do is give the general public or somebody trying to hire the phantasm or understanding that as a result of a property has been registered or on the registry the whole lot is OK with it.”

Minor bylaw violations received’t be included within the registry. They’re addressed by an inside course of, says town report, the place a “discover” is issued first, giving the owner the chance to carry the problem into compliance with out releasing it within the public information.

Initially, it was proposed that landlords could be required to pay a registration charge that might have helped fund this system.  The concept was scraped after landlords pushed again. The employees report proposes that funding for the registry would come out of metropolis coffers.  An extra two enforcement officers could be required to run this system over the 2023-24 fiscal yr. Then one other two officers could be employed the next yr.

Lisa Hayhurst, a member of ACORN living in Dartmouth, says she's complained to the city multiple times about the conditions of her apartment building but has seen no results. - Andrew Rankin
Lisa Hayhurst, a member of ACORN dwelling in Dartmouth, says she’s complained to town a number of instances in regards to the situations of her condo constructing however has seen no outcomes. – Andrew Rankin

Hannah Wooden, ACORN’s Halifax Peninsula chair, says she’s completely happy the registry plan is shifting ahead. She stated it must be instantly made public for the sake of transparency and in order that potential tenants could make an knowledgeable choice on who to hire from. She additionally needed a public discussion board to voice her considerations on the second studying. 

Council voted in opposition to having a public discussion board and as a substitute will settle for written submissions. Wooden intends to proceed to argue her level. However she’s completely happy that the wheels are turning.

 “By passing this bylaw, metropolis council will be capable of present HRM tenants that town takes the problem of wholesome, respectable, and maintained housing significantly,” stated Wooden.

 She says she and her group hopes this can be a step in direction of sustaining wholesome housing within the HRM.

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