Clauses 1 to 4, 6, and 8 to 11 make consequential amendments to the Act that are necessary as a result of the changes contained in Clause 7.
Clause 5 of this Bill puts in place a rent review process for mobile home park spaces.
Clause 7 puts in place a new procedure to allow the Director of Residential Tenancies to make decisions respecting rent review for mobile home park spaces and other residential tenancies matters, with appeals on both issues going to the Residential Tenancies Board.
Clause 12 provides that the Act comes into force on proclamation.
Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
1 Subsection 5(1) of Chapter 401 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Residential Tenancies Act, is amended by striking out "13, 14 or 18" in the third line and substituting "14".
2 Subsection 7(4) of Chapter 401 is amended by striking out "board" in the second line and substituting "Director".
3 Statutory Condition 2. in subsection 9(1) of Chapter 401, as amended by Chapter 31 of the Acts of 1992 and Chapter 40 of the Acts of 1993, is further amended by striking out "residential tenancies board" in the last line and substituting "Director".
4 Subsection 10(8) of Chapter 401, as amended by Chapter 31 of the Acts of 1992, Chapter 40 of the Acts of 1993 and Chapter 32 of the Acts of 1994, is further amended by
(a) striking out "a judge" in the first line of clause (e) and substituting "the Director";
(b) striking out "a judge" in the first line of clause (f) and substituting "the Director";
(c) striking out "16" in the second line of clause (f) and substituting "17A"; and
(d) striking out "judge" in the first line of subclause (f)(iii) and substituting "Director".
5 Chapter 401 is further amended by adding immediately after Section 11 the following Section:
11A (1) Where a landlord of a mobile home park space intends to increase the rent payable after the first twelve-month period, the landlord shall serve the tenant with a notice of rent increase in the prescribed form.
(2) A landlord of a mobile home park space may determine a date to be the rent increase date for all mobile home park spaces owned or managed by the landlord.
(3) A tenant of a mobile home park space who receives a notice of increase of rent on or after the twentieth day of December, 1996, but before the coming into force of this Section, may make an application pursuant to Section 14, within thirty days of the coming into force of this Section, to have the notice of rent increase reviewed.
(4) A tenant of a mobile home park space who receives a notice of increase of rent after the coming into force of this Section may, within thirty days of receipt of the notice, make an application pursuant to Section 14 to have the notice of rent increase reviewed.
6 Subsection 12(6) of Chapter 401 is amended by striking out "under Section 14 or 18 or a complaint" in the fifth and sixth lines.
7 The heading immediately preceding Section 13 and Sections 13 to 17 of Chapter 401 are repealed and the following heading and Sections substituted:
13 (1) Where a person applies to the Director
(a) to determine a question arising under this Act; or
(b) alleging a breach of a lease or a contravention of this Act,
and, not more than one year after the termination of the lease, files with the Director an application in the form prescribed by regulation, together with the fee prescribed by regulation, the Director is the exclusive authority, at first instance, to investigate and endeavour to mediate a settlement.
(2) Upon making an application pursuant to subsection (1), the applicant shall, in accordance with the regulations, serve the other parties to the matter with a copy of the application.
(3) Where the landlord or the tenant has made efforts to serve the other party that have been unsuccessful, the Director may order an alternate acceptable method of service.
(4) An applicant may withdraw an application at any time before an order or decision is made.
14 (1) A tenant of a mobile home park space may apply to the Director in accordance with subsections 11A(3) and (4) for a review of a notice of rent increase received on or after the twentieth day of December, 1996, and shall serve the landlord with a copy of the application in the manner prescribed by regulation.
(2) Tenants of the landlord referred to in subsection (1) who pay the same amount of rent and who have received notice of the same rent increase may file one application with the Director in the prescribed form for review of the rent increase.
(3) The landlord shall, within fifteen days of receipt of the application, provide the Director with the information required by regulation.
(4) If the landlord does not provide the information required by subsection (3), the Director may make an order denying the rent increase.
(5) In exercising authority pursuant to this Section, the Director may determine and adopt the most expeditious method of determining the rent increase.
(6) In reviewing a notice of rent increase, the Director shall consider
(a) the guidelines prescribed by regulation; and
(b) any information provided or submissions made by the landlord or tenant.
(7) The Director may make an order pursuant to Section 17A determining a rent increase which may be made retroactive to the date of rent increase in the notice given by the landlord and, if the order is made retroactive, it is deemed to have come into force on the date to which it is made retroactive.
15 (1) Service of all documents may be made by personal service, registered mail or substituted service in the manner prescribed by regulation.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where the Director is not satisfied that the respondent has been served with an application made pursuant to Section 13, the Director may order an alternate acceptable form of service.
16 (1) Upon receiving an application pursuant to Section 13, the Director shall investigate and endeavour to mediate a settlement of the matter.
(2) Where a matter is settled by mediation, the Director shall make a written record of the settlement which shall be signed by both parties and which is binding on the parties and is not subject to appeal.
(3) Where a matter is settled by mediation, the Director may, if a party fails to comply with the terms on which the matter was settled, make an order pursuant to Section 17A.
17 (1) Where, after investigating the matter, the Director determines that the parties are unlikely to settle the matter by mediation, the Director shall, within fourteen days, make an order in accordance with Section 17A.
(2) The Director is not disqualified from making an order respecting a matter by reason of having investigated or endeavoured to mediate the matter.
17A An order made by the Director may
(a) require a landlord or tenant to comply with a lease or an obligation pursuant to this Act; (b) require a landlord or tenant not to again breach a lease or an obligation pursuant to this Act;
(c) require the landlord or tenant to repair or take any action to remedy a breach, and require the landlord or tenant to pay any reasonable expenses associated with the repair or action;
(d) order compensation to be paid for any loss that has been suffered or will be suffered as a direct result of the breach;
(e) terminate the tenancy on a date specified in the order and order the tenant to vacate the residential premises on that date;
(f) determine the disposition of a security deposit;
(g) direct that the tenant pay the rent in trust to the Director pending the performance by the landlord of any act the landlord is required by law to perform, and directing the disbursement of the rent;
(h) require the payment of money by the landlord or the tenant;
(i) determine the appropriate level of a rent increase;
(j) require a landlord or tenant to comply with a mediated settlement.
17B Where no appeal is made pursuant to Section 17C within the time provided by that Section, an order made by the Director pursuant to Section 17A is deemed to be an order of a board.
17C (1) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, any party to an order of the Director may appeal to the appropriate board.
(2) An appeal may be commenced by filing with the Director, within ten days of the making of the order, a notice of appeal in the form prescribed by regulation accompanied by the fee prescribed by regulation.
(3) The appellant shall, in the manner prescribed by regulation, serve a copy of the notice of appeal and the notice of hearing on all parties to the order.
(4) The board shall conduct the hearing in respect of a matter for which a notice of appeal is filed.
(5) The board shall determine its own practice and procedure but shall give full opportunity for the parties to present evidence and make submissions.
(6) The board may conduct a hearing orally, including by telephone, or in writing or partly in writing and partly orally.
(7) Evidence may be given before the board in any manner that the board considers appropriate and the board is not bound by rules of law respecting evidence applicable to judicial proceedings. (8) The evidence at a hearing shall not be recorded.
17D (1) Within seven days of holding a hearing pursuant to subsection 17C(4), the board shall
(a) confirm, vary or rescind the order of the Director; or
(b) make any order that the Director could have made.
(2) The board shall compile a record of a hearing consisting of
(a) the order of the Director that was appealed from;
(b) the notice of appeal to the board;
(c) the notice of hearing by the board;
(d) any written submissions received by the board; and
(e) the order of the board and any reasons for the order.
17E (1) Subject to subsection (2), a party to an appeal to the board pursuant to this Act may, if that person took part in the hearing, appeal the order of the board to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
(2) An appeal pursuant to subsection (1) may only be taken on a question of law or jurisdiction.
8 Subsection 18(6) of Chapter 401, as amended by Chapter 31 of the Acts of 1992, is further amended by striking out "Except where a complaint is made under Section 13, a" in the first and second lines and substituting "A".
9 Section 20 of Chapter 401 is amended by
(a) striking out "A judge of the provincial court, a county court judge" in the first and second lines and substituting "The Director"; and
(b) striking out "judge" in the fourth line and substituting "Director".
10 Clauses 26(1)(cb) and (cd) of Chapter 401 are repealed.
11 Sections 2 and 3, clause 4(a), subsection 5(2), Sections 6 and 7, proposed subsection 18(4B) as contained in subsection 8(2), subsection 8(3) and Sections 11 to 13 of Chapter 31 of the Acts of 1992, An Act to Amend Chapter 401 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Residential Tenancies Act, are repealed.
12 This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.