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Group aims to educate small-time landlords on discrimination laws

Earlier this week, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission issued a warning to landlords in Halifax, who have been accused of discriminating against families with children
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Earlier this week, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission issued a warning to landlords in Halifax, who have been accused of discriminating against families with children.

"We know that professional landlords have a clear understanding of the human right regulations, so it was surprising to hear this," says Kevin Russell, Executive Director of the Investment Properties Owner's Association of Nova Scotia (IPOANS).

But Russell says that because of the booming housing market in Nova Scotia, lots of people are getting into the rental game.

"Recently there's been a dramatic increase in the number of individuals becoming investment property owners across the city," he tells NEWS 95.7's The Todd Veinotte Show.

Because of this, not everyone is aware of the rules set out in the Residential Tenancies Act.

"They look at this as maybe an easy business when that's far from the truth," says Russell. "They get into it not knowing the responsibilities of being a landlord, including not understanding all the regulations that landlords must meet."

There are four criteria landlords look at when deciding whether to approve a rental application, Russell explains: ability to pay, landlord references, employment references, and credit checks.

"If the applicant meets the criteria there should be no reason why anybody wouldn't rent to somebody," he says. "But it may be a case of individuals not understanding the human rights act, and not understanding the regulations with it."

Although Russell says he doesn't know the specifics of the recent Human Rights complaint, he says the act makes it clear that landlords can't discriminate against families with children.

The only rule in the act related to age, he says, is the one that allows some buildings to cater to residents age 55 and up.

Because of the influx in new, small-time landlords, IPOANS has been working with NSCC to create courses for landlords that want to learn more about the regulations.

"We're partnered with Nova Scotia Community College in developing residential property management and building maintenance courses," Russell says.

An online certicfication course for landlords, called I Rent It Right, will also begin this fall.

"It's an online tutorial, educational tutorial for small landlords and for frontline staff training," explains Russell.

"Participants taking this course will learn the fundamentals of being a landlord. That includes understanding the Nova Scotia Human Rights and Residential Tenancies Act."




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Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

After graduating from journalism at King's, Victoria Walton now works in the film industry and as HalifaxToday.ca's weekend editor.
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