N.S tenants fear big rent increases that would force people out on the street in mid-winter

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Nova Scotians who pay rent are staring at a deadline of Feb. 1.

When the province's state of emergency is set to end, a cap on rent increases is set to expire with it.

"I don't have options," says Dartmouth resident Marjorie Pemberton.

As it stands, Pemberton isn't able to afford rent on her own.

"I had to get with a friend and get an apartment in order to afford an apartment," Pemberton says.

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston is under pressure to keep the cap indefinitely. He says that's not an option.

"It will be there as long as the state of emergency is in. I have not made any decisions to separate those two things," says Houston.

Housing advocate Lisa Hay Hurst is worried that once the cap is lifted, landlords will substantially increase rent, which could end up forcing some people out of their homes in the dead of winter.

"I think that is disgraceful," says housing advocate Lisa Hayhurst. "It's going to be cold and, I mean, you can't have people living in tents and stuff when it's sub-zero temperatures. That's just not right." Hayhurst says.

The leader of the Liberal party says there's no reason rent control has to end when the state of emergency is over. Iain Rankin says with a 1 per cent vacancy rate, landlords are in control.

"Rent control needs to remain in place until we have more supply on the market. With winter coming we need to protect tenants, that is what the government is there for, we just can't rely on the market," Rankin says.

Houston says his party feels the urgency of the situation and is working on solutions.