Government of Nova Scotianovascotia.ca
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During a Tenancy

  1. Paying Rent
  2. Rent Increases
  3. Changing Your Lease
  4. Letting Someone Else be Responsible for your Lease
  5. Rights and Responsibilities

Paying Rent

Pay your rent on time, every time. It is your responsibility to make sure rent is paid - a landlord does not need to collect it from you. A landlord can charge one percent of the monthly rent, per month, for any late rent.

You may not withhold rent payments to encourage the landlord to make repairs or to take other action. (See "If There are Problems.")

If you are having trouble making your rent, talk to your landlord as soon as you know there's a problem. Your landlord may be willing to work with you to make an arrangement to make sure you do not go into arrears.

Once your rent is 15 days late, your landlord may give you a 15 day Notice to Quit. This notice means that if you don't pay your rent within those 15 days, you will have to leave on the date shown on the notice.

If you pay your rent before the 15 days are over, the Notice to Quit will be set aside and your lease will continue as it did before. You may wish to talk with your landlord to reassure them that you will continue to pay your rent.

If your landlord gives you a Notice to Quit and you believe you have paid the rent, you may dispute the notice. (See "If There are Problems.")

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Rent Increases

Rent can only be increased once in a 12-month period, on the anniversary date of the tenancy.

Notice of a rent increase must be given in writing and must state the amount of the increase and the date the rent will go up.

Landlords must give you:

  • four months notice if you're in a year-to-year lease
  • four months notice if you're in a month-to-month lease
  • eight weeks notice if you're in a week-to-week lease

For fixed-term leases, the amounts and dates of all increases must be included in the lease when it is signed.

The rent can be increased by any amount. If you do not agree with a rent increase, you may give three months' Notice to Quit to your landlord before the anniversary date, and leave.

If your landlord plans to discontinue a service or privilege, it is considered to be a rent increase and the landlord is required to give the proper notice, as shown above. There are different rules for Manufactured Homes and Land Lease Communities, (see "Manufactured Homes and Land-lease Communities") and for Public Housing.

In public housing, if rent is geared to income, an increase in the percentage of income charged as rent is considered a rent increase and the landlord must give proper notice of four months prior to the anniversary date. The total amount paid in rent may increase or decrease with the tenant's income – this is not a rent increase.

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Changing Your Lease

When you are living in your residential unit, you may choose to change a year-to-year lease to a month-to-month one. To do this:

  • give your landlord written Notice to Quit three months prior to your anniversary date. Attach a written request to begin a month-to-month lease when the year-to-year lease has ended.
  • the landlord has 30 days to respond to your request. If the landlord does not answer within the 30 days, the lease will automatically go month-to-month.

If you have a fixed-term lease, you can only change the terms if you and your landlord agree to do so. It is a good idea to get this agreement in writing.

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Letting Someone Else be Responsible for your Lease

There are two ways to have someone else move into your unit while you are still under a lease:

  • If you plan to leave for a period and then return, you may wish to use a sublet. A landlord must have a good reason to refuse to allow you to sublet. The landlord may charge $75 to assess a sub-tenant.
  • If you do not wish to continue with your lease, you may ask to assign any months remaining on your lease to a new person. The new person then becomes responsible for following the lease and paying rent until it has ended.

A landlord must have a good reason to refuse to allow you to assign your lease. The landlord may charge $75 to evaluate a person you wish to assign your lease to.

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Rights and Responsibilities

Rules

A landlord can make rules for a rental property. Rules cannot remove obligations of either the landlord or tenant under the RTA or Standard Form of Lease. Rules must be reasonable, and apply equally to all tenants.

The landlord should give you a copy of the rules before you sign the lease. If you are not given a copy, you should ask if there are any additional rules before you sign. If you wish to have a pet, you should check the rules for the premises to make sure that pets are allowed. If your landlord allows pets, it is a good idea to get it in writing. A landlord may not charge an additional deposit for you to have a pet. All security deposits, including a pet deposit, must be no more than one-half of one month's rent.

Maintenance

You must keep the rental unit and all the appliances clean. You are responsible for any repairs that must be made due to neglect or damage done by any guests you allow into the premises. You must not interfere with the landlord's or the other tenants' ability to safely occupy the premises.

Heat and Utilities

A landlord is not permitted to turn off the heat to a unit, even if there is rent owing or another dispute. If you are responsible for heating your unit, you must be sure to keep it warm enough to prevent damage. The temperature on the premises should be 70F° to 72F° / 20C° to 22C°. The landlord is not permitted to disconnect other utilities (electricity, water, cable for example) included in the lease.

Locks

Locks can only be changed if both you and your landlord agree. Your landlord is entitled to a key to your unit.

Insurance

You are responsible for insuring your personal belongings. Your landlord may request a copy of the policy as a condition of your lease.

Landlord Access

A landlord may only enter the rented premises if:

  • There is an emergency.
  • The landlord has given written notice that he or she will be entering the premises and the entry is during daylight hours.
  • A Notice to Quit has been given by the landlord or the tenant and entry is made during daylight hours to show the premises to prospective tenants or purchasers.

A notice to enter should state the time and date the landlord plans to enter the unit and be signed by the landlord or representative.

If a landlord is trying to sell or rent the premises, a real estate agent must be allowed to enter. The agent may be required to provide proof of authorization from the owner. The agent is to enter only during daylight hours and if no Notice to Quit has been given, 24-hours notice must be given to the tenant. An "Open House" can only be held with the consent of the tenant.

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