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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: 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:
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 tenants 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 to Rent
  2. During a Lease
  3. Land-Lease Communities Only
  4. New Wording for Mobile Homes
  5. Ending a Lease
  6. Early Termination
  7. Early Termination for Domestic Violence
  8. Past Due Rental Payments

Beginning to Rent

Your landlord must give one copy of the Residential Tenancies Act to you or another tenant on your lease within 10 days of whichever is earliest:

  • date the lease is signed
  • date landlord provides keys to tenant
  • date tenant is allowed to move in
  • start date as stated in the lease

Your landlord only has to give a copy of the Act to one tenant listed on the lease. Each tenant must receive a copy of the signed lease.

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During a Lease

As of November 15, 2012, the sublet fee is a maximum of $75. As of January 1, 2013, the interest rate earned on security deposits will be 0%. The interest rate will be adjusted regularly to reflect market conditions.

Co-operative housing associations may now use a common anniversary date for rent increases to all tenants. 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. Your landlord may apply to the Residential Tenancies Program for an increase above the maximum amount published.

If you are selling your manufactured home and apply to have a prospective buyer approved as a tenant in the land-lease community, your landlord 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 you have a fixed-term lease (end date stated in the lease), your lease is automatically renewed and you have the right to stay until you give notice to the landlord.

However, your landlord has the right to issue a 15 day notice to leave if your rent is late by more than 15 days.

Other causes for notice to quit are:

  • bad behavior (not meeting terms of lease, noise, etc.)
  • poor condition of unit (damage or lack of cleanliness)
  • unauthorized sublet (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 you have not left by the end of the notice period your landlord may apply for an Order of the Director for "vacant possession" -- a legally binding decision that means you must leave and take all your possessions.

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Early Termination

If you have a fixed-term lease, you may now end a lease early for health reasons, acceptance into a care facility, or if a tenant living alone dies.

Starting November 15, 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 the landlord must agree unless there is good reason not to.

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Early Termination for Domestic Violence

Tenants who are victims of domestic violence that have a year-to-year or fixed-term lease may apply to have their tenancy terminated early through Victim Services with the Department of Justice.

Any tenant who has a month-to-month or week-to-week lease may use the provisions within the Residential Tenancies Act to terminate their tenancy using Form C within the Regulations.

If you have a fixed-term or year-to-year lease…

  • Contact Victim Services in your area or call 1-888-470-0773. They will be able to walk you through the application process to obtain a Domestic Violence Certificate and assist you in correctly serving notice to your landlord. You will still be required to provide one-months’ notice of ending your lease.
  • You may need to visit a Victim Services office in person or have someone go on your behalf.

If you have a month-to-month lease…

  • Give a one-month notice to quit using Residential Tenancies Form C
  • After the one month notice period, you are no longer financially responsible for rent, but may be responsible for rental arrears or damage to the unit.

For additional information, please visit Department of Justice Victim Services.

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Past Due Rental Payments

If your rent is 15 days late, your landlord can give you a 15-day notice to quit. Within the notice period, you can choose to:

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

If you do not take any action within the notice period, your landlord 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.

A copy of the Order of the Director will be mailed to you. You have a right to an appeal within 10 days of the date of the order. If you do not appeal within the 10-day period allowed, this Order of the Director can be converted immediately into an Order of the Small Claims Court and can be enforced by the sheriff's department.

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