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Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act

Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act came into effect on November 10, 2016.

Landlords can now provide a copy of the Residential Tenancies Act to tenants at the beginning of a new lease in one of three ways. These include providing a paper copy of the Act, an electronic copy of the Act or a link/web address to the Act published by the Speaker of the House of Assembly or the Queen’s Printer.

Service Nova Scotia will no longer be providing paper copies of the Residential Tenancies Act to landlords. If landlords wish to provide a copy of the Act to their tenants they will be required to print the Act themselves.

The type of copy of the Act provided by a landlord is to be indicated on the lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant.

The link for the Residential Tenancies Act on the legislative website is: http://nslegislature.ca/legc/statutes/residential tenancies.pdf

If a tenant is provided an electronic copy of the Act and they wish to receive a paper copy of the Act they can request one from Service Nova Scotia. Tenants can do so through the following online form.

The following is an example of how leases can indicate the type of copy provided to the tenant:

Attachments: (initials required)

1. ____ At least 1 tenant has received a copy of the Act in the form of:
   Paper copy
   Electronic copy
   Link to a copy: http://nslegislature.ca/legc/
statutes/residential tenancies.pdf

within 10 days of the earliest of:

  1. the date specified in the lease as the start of the tenancy;
  2. signing the lease;
  3. receiving keys to the premises;
  4. taking possession of or occupying the premises.
2. ____
____
____
All tenants have received a copy of the signed lease within 10 days of the date of the signing of the lease.

3. ____
____
____
All tenants have read, signed and received the rules and attachments to this lease.

Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act came into effect on November 15, 2012.

A short summary of these changes as they affect landlords is found below. If you have further questions about the changes, please refer directly to the Act and its Regulations or contact us.

  1. Beginning a Lease
  2. During a Lease
  3. Land-Lease Communities Only
  4. New Wording for Mobile Homes
  5. Ending a Lease
  6. Early Termination
  7. Past Due Rental Payments

Beginning a Lease

You must now give a copy of the Residential Tenancies Act to at least one tenant named on a lease within 10 days of the earliest of the following:

  • date the lease is signed
  • date you provide keys to tenant
  • date tenant is allowed to move in
  • start date as stated in the lease

You must now give each tenant a copy of the signed lease.

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During a Lease

As of November 15th, 2012, the sublet fee is a maximum of $75.

As of January 1, 2013, the interest rate on security deposits will be 0%. The interest rate will be adjusted regularly to reflect market conditions. (Interest earned on security deposits in trust before January 2013 must still be paid to tenants when they leave.)

Co-operative housing associations may now use a common anniversary date for rent increases. Existing notice periods still apply.

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Land-Lease Communities Only

The Residential Tenancies program will publish an annual allowable rent increase amount for land-lease communities. You may apply to the Residential Tenancies Program to give an increase above the maximum published amount.

If a tenant is selling their manufactured home and applies to have a prospective buyer approved as a tenant in the Land-Lease Community, you must respond in writing within 10 days.

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New Wording for Mobile Homes

  • mobile home park is now land-lease community
  • mobile home is now manufactured home
  • mobile home space is now manufactured home space

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Ending a Lease

Unless they signed a fixed-term lease (end date stated in the lease), tenants have the right to stay until they give you notice they intend to leave. All other leases are renewed automatically.

However, you may issue a 15 day notice to quit for rental arrears of more than 15 days.

You may also give 15 days' notice to quit for:

  • bad behavior (not meeting terms of lease, noise, etc.)
  • poor condition of unit (damage or lack of cleanliness)
  • unauthorized sublet or assignment (the subletter may be given notice)
  • not following municipal bylaws for manufactured homes

Notice required is 15 days, except for land-lease communities, where it is 30 days.

If the tenant has not left by the end of the notice period, you may apply for an Order of the Director for "vacant possession" – a legally binding decision that means the tenant must leave and take all of their possessions.

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Early Termination

If you have a fixed-term lease, your tenant may now end the lease early for health reasons or when accepted into a care facility. If a tenant living alone dies, their representative may end the lease early.

Since November 15th, 2012, new forms must be completed to end any type of lease early.

If one tenant ends a lease early, it is ended for all tenants. The other tenants may request a new lease and you must agree unless there is a good reason not to.

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Past Due Rental Payments

If rent is at least 15 days late, you can give the tenant a 15-day notice to quit. Within the notice period, the tenant may:

  • pay all rent owing, cancelling the notice
  • leave, ending the lease (rental arrears are still owed)
  • apply to dispute the notice to quit

If the tenant does not take any action within the notice period, you may apply for an Order of the Director for vacant possession. A landlord can choose to make an application and attempt to mediate with the tenant and have an oral hearing if meditation is not successful, or the landlord can choose to proceed with an application that does not require an oral hearing.

You will be required to sign an affidavit confirming that the notice to quit was given to the tenant by personal service or registered mail. You will be required to serve the tenant with a copy of the application.

If approved, the Residential Tenancies program will mail you and the tenant a copy of the Order of the Director. Tenants have the right to appeal within 10 days of the date of the order. If the tenant does not appeal within 10 days, then the Order of the Director can be converted into an Order of the Small Claims Court and can be enforced by the Sheriff.

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