'We're several years deep in a housing crisis': Housing, rent control a Nova Scotia election issue
With a low vacancy rate and skyrocketing prices, many Nova Scotians are struggling to find a place to live and pay their rent.
Affordable housing and rent control will likely play a role when voters head to the ballot box next month.
"We're several years deep into a housing crisis, especially here in Halifax,” says Mark Culligan, a community legal worker.
Temporary rent control was brought in last fall amid the pandemic, but there’s concern about what could happen if it’s lifted.
"What we foresee, if the rental increase cap is lifted, is a rental shock,” says Culligan.
“Bad landlords, pandemic profiteers will raise rents to whatever rates they can command in the market, and right now, tenants have very little consumer power to contest those high rents."
Advocates say there isn’t enough affordable housing and want to see rent control stick around.
"We definitely need permanent rent control in Nova Scotia," says Aidan Tompkins with non-profit group ACORN.
"About two years ago, I received a rent increase that was for 29 per cent, which is egregious."
NDP leader Gary Burrill spent Tuesday morning talking about the skyrocketing cost of rent and how an NDP government would help.
"As a matter of top priority, an NDP government will move with immediate dispatch to implement permanent rent control across Nova Scotia,” says Burrill.
PC leader Tim Houston says the answer to the housing crisis is more housing stock, not rent control.
"We need to make sure we work with not-for-profits and developers alike to incentivize them and help them build more housing stock. That's the answer to the housing crisis, not reducing the rents," says Houston.
Liberal leader Iain Rankin also believes supply is an issue when it comes to housing.
“We have exploding population and we have a supply issue, so we need to grow supply. It’s not the solution like the NDP say it is," says Rankin.