Renting in Halifax in 2023? Bring cash and lots of cash | News | Halifax, Nova Scotia
HAligonians who lament the cost of housing in HRM now have definitive proof: the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in our small Atlantic city is higher than in Kelowna, Kitchener, Calgary, Ottawa and pretty much everywhere except the GTA and Vancouver. or Victoria.
Speak latest report from Rentals.ca, a national snapshot of rental rates in Canada’s most expensive housing markets, Halifax is currently the 10th most expensive Canadian city to rent a one-bedroom apartment, at $1,987/month. That’s a 24% jump from last January, and among the highest year-over-year jumps of any Canadian city listed in the report.
The picture doesn’t get much better if you look at two- or three-bedroom units. The former will cost you $2,318/month, according to the report, nearly $300 more per month than when Service Nova Scotia Minister Colton LeBlanc announced an extension of the temporary 2% rent cap in October 2021 to tackle “never seen before” housing challenges. Three-bedroom apartments cost $2,804/month, making Halifax the seventh most expensive Canadian city for a three-bedroom apartment.
And as HRM continues to grow, more and more Haligonians are beginning to feel the effects.
“There is almost nothing available”
Artist Robyn Badger lived at the same Dartmouth address for nine years before new owners took over the building last summer. It was a modest place – 450 square feet – but a source of inspiration for his paintings and a source of healing after surviving past trauma.
“The front room is my safe space,” she told The Coast last July. “It has big, huge windows and overlooks Sullivan’s Pond. There is a beautiful light at the end of the day.
Along with the new landlords, Badger received an eviction notice — a move she said would result in a 200-300% rent increase wherever she could find next.
“My whole world kind of fell apart,” she said. “I knew straight away that it was going to cause a lot of problems, because there was almost nothing available. And there is certainly no consideration for low income people.
Explosion in Halifax: HRM is the second fastest growing Canadian city in 2022
No urban center in Canada experienced such significant growth as those in the Maritimes last year. According to new data from Statistics CanadaHalifax’s population grew by 4.4% from July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022. Only Moncton (5.3%) grew at a faster rate.
Halifax’s pace of growth has surprised even those who have followed it for decades.
“I’ve been involved in the Atlantic economy for 25 years, I’ve never seen anything like it before,” said Patrick Brannon, senior fellow at the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, told CBC News earlier this week. Last year, Nova Scotia the population reached one million For the very first time.
But while Halifax has seen phenomenal growth — its population is now around 480,500, according to Statistics Canada — much of that growth has come from outside the province. More than 20,400 more Haligonians came from elsewhere in Canada or from abroad last year, compared to those who left the province. Meanwhile, another 124 Nova Scotians have moved outside from Halifax elsewhere in the province compared to those who arrived. And although Statistics Canada does not show information on Why they left, we already know the answer for some: it’s the cost of living.
That’s what prompted Charlotte MacDonald to leave Halifax for his parents’ home in Cape Breton when his fixed-term lease ended last summer. She had lived for three years in a bachelor apartment on Chebucto Road. The rent was manageable: she had signed up for $900/month.
But when her landlord opted out of renewing her lease in order to convert her apartment into an Airbnb rental, MacDonald knew it would be nearly impossible to find another place to rent on the same budget. And a one bedroom apartment would have been out of its price range.
“I was going to be broke, basically, if I was going to stay,” she told The Coast in October.
Rent cap expires in December
The Nova Scotia government’s temporary rent cap, which limits rental rate increases to 2% per year, expires December 31, 2023. It was first introduced in November 2020 to help newcomers -Scots through a difficult first year of COVID-19. “Now is not the time for people to worry about putting a roof over their heads,” then-housing minister Chuck Porter said. said at the time.)
While the Houston administration and its predecessor have talked about the need for affordable housing, neither has chosen to make the temporary rent cap permanent.
The temporary cap was originally set to expire last February, until Prime Minister Tim Houston’s government opted to extend it for another 23 months. But while the Houston administration and its predecessor have talked about the need for affordable housing, neither has chosen to make the cap permanent. Instead, the late lifting of protections has hung like a kind of Damocles sword over tenants’ heads: when the cap is lifted, landlords and property managers will be able to raise tenant rates without no restrictions other than those provided for in the Residential Tenancies Act. This limits landlords to raising a tenant’s rent once a year, but it sets no limit to how high a landlord can raise rent.
And while that might be a boon for homeowners, it’s a problem for Hannah Wood, co-chair of the Halifax Peninsula chapter of ACORN Canada, an advocacy group for low- and middle-income people facing hardship. housing, salary and disability issues. She was part of the group that lobbied for rent caps in Nova Scotia – and says the state of rent increases in Halifax was “glaring” before it was introduced.
“So many people came forward with the massive rent increases they were getting,” she told The Coast in October. “Some people’s rent has literally doubled.”
Wood would like rent caps to become permanent and tied to units, rather than rentals, so landlords can’t circumvent the cap with short-term leases and different tenants.
The Coast contacted Service Nova Scotia and the province’s Department of Housing to find out if the provincial government would consider extending — or making permanent — the temporary rent cap, as well as extending the cap between rentals.
“We regularly engage with our stakeholders on topics related to residential tenancies such as the temporary rent cap,” a provincial spokesperson responded, adding that “many factors will be considered” as the deadline approaches. expiry of the rent ceiling.
—With files by Morgan Mullin
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