N.S. student tenants: Saga of mouse-infested rooms shows need for tougher tenancy law – Halifax

Two Nova Scotia college students who spent eight months preventing to be repaid lease after they departed their mouse-infested condo say their case emphasizes the necessity for authorized reforms to guard tenants.

Kavita Krueger, Hayley Inglis and Mackenzie Cornfield received a small claims courtroom case to have extreme safety deposits and improper charges refunded, however they are saying the Nova Scotia’s Residential Tenancies Act lacks enough penalties to carry an finish to those practices.

Inglis and Krueger mentioned in interviews Tuesday they left the coed housing in south finish Halifax final December following a mouse infestation, saying a physician’s observe obtained about well being impacts of the infestation permitted them to offer one month’s discover.

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Nevertheless, it took selections from the province’s director of residential tenancies and a small claims courtroom earlier than they have been repaid safety deposits that had exceeded the utmost permitted below the legislation – half a month’s lease.

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Krueger, a 22-year Dalhousie College scholar learning neuroscience, mentioned the province isn’t adequately overseeing the tenancies legislation, and authorized reform is lengthy overdue. “There’s nothing stopping landlords from doing no matter they need,” she mentioned. Inglis, a 25-year-old former Dalhousie scholar who’s now working in Kamloops, B.C., mentioned there should be increased and extra frequent fines for breaches of the laws.

Cornfield was unavailable for remark.

After the Aug. 9 courtroom order, Krueger was repaid a $75 “software payment” charged by the owner and two months lease – totalling $1,480 – that the owner had collected by way of an computerized debit on Jan. 1 and Feb. 1, 2021 after the scholars had moved out. The courtroom doc says Inglis and Cornfield have been every repaid the identical software payment in addition to $670 every that was deemed an extreme safety deposit.

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The small claims courtroom adjudicator rejected the owner’s argument that the Residential Tenancies Act permits charging some advance lease past the safety deposit.

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The owner, David MacAdams, mentioned in an interview Tuesday he didn’t consider earlier than the listening to it was unlawful for tenants to offer advance lease that exceeds a safety deposit. He mentioned the appliance charges charged assist cowl administrative prices and are usually refunded.

MacAdams mentioned he’ll nonetheless adjust to the courtroom order and cease the apply of asking for advance lease and software charges. Concerning reform to the legislation, he mentioned: “I actually doubt there actually are issues on the market. I’m not conscious of any large issues on the market.”

Nevertheless, the Dalhousie Authorized Assist service – which represented the scholars – says their case illustrates how residential tenancies laws is biased towards tenants. It says a $1,000 penalty that may be assessed for breaches of the act’s provisions hasn’t been utilized in over 15 years.

“We obtain quite a few cellphone calls from college students yearly about unlawful leasing practices, and the scenario retains getting worse,” mentioned Mark Culligan, neighborhood authorized employee at Dalhousie Authorized Assist. “Nova Scotia wants a system of landlord licensing or administrative fines.”

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Kevin Russell, the director of the Funding Property Homeowners Affiliation of Nova Scotia, agreed the laws is in want of reform however mentioned tenants and landlords have comparable complaints.

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“Landlords expertise the an identical points that tenants expertise, going by way of a prolonged listening to course of adopted by a protracted small claims courtroom enchantment course of earlier than receiving an end result on instances involving hundreds of {dollars} in unpaid lease and damages,” he wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. He mentioned his group has known as for an enforcement unit in Nova Scotia primarily based on a mannequin established in British Columbia two years in the past.

Colton LeBlanc, the not too long ago appointed Service Nova Scotia minister, mentioned in a phone interview Tuesday the brand new Progressive Conservative authorities intends to work on updating the laws on this mandate.

“There’s many complexities to the act. This situation has been raised, and it’s on our checklist to evaluate as a part of our work to modernize the act,” he mentioned.

On Wednesday, as a part of a housing announcement by Premier Tim Houston, the federal government unveiled legislative adjustments to streamline the safety deposit declare course of so it’s simpler for tenants to recuperate their deposits.

Blaise Theriault, a spokesman for Service Nova Scotia, mentioned the division doesn’t preserve statistics on the variety of fines levied below the Residential Tenancies Act.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Oct. 21, 2021.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

https://globalnews.ca/information/8285947/nova-scotia-students-mouse-infestation-housing/ | N.S. scholar tenants: Saga of mouse-infested rooms reveals want for harder tenancy legislation – Halifax


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