Rent-increase complaints on rise, city councillor says

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July 28, 2012 – 4:16am BY MICHAEL LIGHTSTONE STAFF REPORTER

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John MacDonnell, the cabinet minister responsible for the Residential Tenancies Act, said in May that reviewing rent control was not on his list of priorities. (TIM KROCHAK / Staff / File)

Minister says issue not a priority.

Provincial cabinet minister John MacDonell has said his office hasn’t received many complaints about rent increases. But a Halifax councillor says she has.

“This is an issue that has been going on since January, which I brought to the attention of the (provincial) government awhile ago,” Dawn Sloane said Friday.

At first, she said she heard from one or two people.

“Then it became four or five, then six or seven, then 20. And it keeps accumulating, in the number of individuals who are looking at these rate hikes.”

The late John Savage’s former Liberal government dissolved rent control in Nova Scotia in 1993.

MacDonnell, the cabinet minister responsible for the Residential Tenancies Act, said in May that reviewing rent control was not on his list of priorities.

“If I was getting inundated with complaints, I might consider this as a much bigger issue,” he said in the spring. “In my department, we’ve only received two or three complaints in six months.”

A spokeswoman for Premier Darrell Dexter said this week the government has no plans to resurrect rent control.

“It is not something the province is considering,” Jennifer Stewart told The Chronicle Herald.

Sloane, who represents downtown Halifax on regional council and is running in the new Peninsula North district, said many seniors, people on fixed incomes and disabled tenants need help when faced with rent increases.

Coun. Sue Uteck (Northwest Arm-South End) has also urged the NDP government to take a look at the rent control issue.

Source: TheChronicleHerald.ca

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