Rent control in the province will be in place for another year and a half, but the Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia already predicts there will be political pressure to maintain the status quo.

“This is something that we are very concerned about, it is an issue that negatively impacts the entire industry,” said Kevin Russell, Executive Director of IPOANS. “You look at inflation, now above 8%, and rental housing providers can only raise rents by 2%. So there is a financial impact on our members, especially the smaller members who have one, two or six units. They have financial difficulties because their rents do not cover expenses.

Landlords can earn ‘ancillary income’ from washing machines or renting rooftop space for a cellphone tower, for example, but 97% of their income comes from rent, the association says. .

IPOANS has 160 members, who own just over 45,000 rental units across the province, and Russell said the always tough business has gotten tougher.

“And the rent cap is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The other thing that is causing a lot of problems is the Residential Tenancies Act and the residential tenancy process,” he said. “It’s a broken process, both for tenants and rental housing providers. The law needs to be modernized. You have a process that can take six to eight months to resolve an issue, and that’s just too long, especially in a non-payment of rent situation, where once you enter the residential tenancy process , tenants generally stop paying their rent. Homeowners pay for the cost of electricity, heat, lighting and everything else, so it adds up pretty quickly. It is an untenable situation. Based on our research, we have put forward proposals to change the law and modernize the law so that there is a fairer level playing field for tenants and landlords.

With rent control ending on December 31, 2023, the association is collecting data so it can present empirical evidence that the policy is in fact detrimental to landlords and future tenants.

“We are in our third year of rent control, it was introduced in November 2020 but was retroactive to September 2020, so in 2022 we are entering our third year and we are already seeing the impacts of the cap,” Russell said. . . “You have a reduced rental supply stock as rental housing providers leave the industry, and this is particularly poignant for small operators who have single family homes, duplexes, townhouses and townhouses. , and they have just enough. And they’re selling those units and going back to residential ownership, so that’s actually reducing the supply.

Russell said some people get a cap on rent increases, those who are already in an apartment and plan to stay there, but new tenants, new tenants, immigrants and students end up subsidizing tenants rent-controlled housing.

“We’re starting to see the symptoms of what rent control is causing, and that’s what we’re seeing in other rent-controlled jurisdictions in North America, Europe: supply is going down and rents are going up. The intention is to control rents, but that’s not happening,” Russell said, adding that liability insurance costs for landlords are also skyrocketing. “Premiums have risen dramatically, in some cases triple digits, and (insurance companies) are requiring upgrades to parts of the building that they believe would be a liability if anything were to happen. If you don’t upgrade, you don’t get insurance.