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Renoviction Ban lifted: the renoviction procedure in Nova Scotia

Brian Tabor, QC, Nico Jones and Hannah Brison

Upon termination of the Renoviction Ban (March 20, 2022), new rules regarding renovictions came into effect.

In summary, these rules require:

  1. The landlord to make an application to the Director of Residential Tenancies (“Director”) for an order that requires the tenant to vacate the premises on a specific date;
  2. the tenant must be given at least three months’ notice;
  3. the repairs or renovations must be so extensive so as to require a building permit and vacant possession; and
  4. the tenant is entitled to compensation based on the size of the residential complex.

The Renoviction Ban has been lifted

On November 25, 2020, a Direction of the Minister, under a declared State of Emergency and pursuant to Section 14 of the Emergency Management Act, S.N.S. 1990, c.8¹ (“Direction”), was issued that prohibited “renovictions” (defined as “a renovation undertaken by a residential landlord to residential premises, or a building containing residential premises, that will require the tenant to vacate the premises”) (“Renoviction Ban”). The Direction provided that the Renoviction Ban would remain in place until the shorter of February 1, 2022 or for the duration of the provincial State of Emergency.

On January 28, 2022, the Renoviction Ban was extended pursuant to another Direction of the Minister², which provided that the Renoviction Ban would remain in place for the duration of the declared State of Emergency. The Renoviction Ban ended when the State of Emergency ended at 11:59 p.m. on March 20, 2022³.

Rules regarding securing vacant possession for renovation purposes

On November 5, 2021, the Residential Tenancies Act, R.S., c. 401 (“Residential Tenancies Act”) was amended to (1) set out the procedure for Renovictions; (2) provide compensation for tenants who agree to, or are ordered by the Director to, terminate a tenancy; and (3) establish a penalty for a landlord that does not comply with the notice and compensation provisions. These new provisions4 took effect immediately following the termination of the Renoviction Ban.

The rules surrounding renovictions are as follows:

  1. There are two permissible ways to terminate a tenancy for demolition, repairs, or renovations5:
    1. Mutual agreement (i.e., the landlord and tenant both agree to end the lease due to a renovation); or
    2. An order of the Director.

If the landlord and tenant mutually agree to end the lease due to a renovation, the agreement must be in writing and must use Form DR5.

  1. If the landlord and tenant do not mutually agree to terminate a tenancy, the landlord may make an application (“Application”) to the Director for an order under Section 17A(e) that terminates the tenancy on a date specified in the order and ordering the tenant to vacate the premises on that date.

The legislation provides that the date must be in not less than three months and not more than 12 months. The Nova Scotia government confirms in their Renovation Fact Sheet that the tenant must be given at least three months’ notice6.

  1. The Application must satisfy the Director that the landlord has all the necessary permits and approvals “required by law” and that the landlord in good faith requires possession of the residential premises for the purpose of: (a) demolition of the residential premises; or (b) making repairs or renovations so extensive so as to require a building permit and vacant possession of the residential premises7.

The Residential Tenancies Act also provides that, in making their decision, the Director will consider the “vacant possession guidelines” prescribed by regulation. There are currently no such guidelines.

  1. If a landlord terminates a tenant’s tenancy pursuant to Section 10AB, the tenant is entitled to compensation equal to the rent payable for8:
    1. the last three months, if the residential complex (defined as a building in which one or more residential premises9 are located) contains more than four residential premises; or
    2. the last month, if the residential complex contains four or fewer residential premises.

Where the tenant continues to reside in the residential premises until the date specified in the agreement or order, they are not required to pay rent to the landlord for the applicable period noted above.

If the landlord provides another unit to the tenant and the tenant agrees to enter into a lease for the new unit with the same benefits and obligations as the current lease, the tenant is not entitled to compensation.


This client update is provided for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about the above, please contact a member of our Real Property group.

 

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¹ Direction 20-014
² Direction 22-001
³ New and Important Information for Residential Tenants and Landlords, March 2022: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/docs/protection-for-renters-information-for-tenants-and- landlords.pdf (“Renovation Fact Sheet”)
4 Found at section 10AB of the Residential Tenancies Act, R.S., c. 401.
5 Residential Tenancies Act, s. 10AB(6).
6 Residential Tenancies Act, s. 10AB(2); ibid note 3.
7 Residential Tenancies Act, s. 10AB(2); ibid note 3.
8 Residential Tenancies Act, s. 10AC(2).
9 Defined as “any house, dwelling, apartment, flat, tenement, manufactured home, land-lease community, manufactured home space or other place that is occupied or may be occupied by an individual as a residence or that part of any such place that is or may be occupied by an individual as a residence.”

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