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Residential Tenancies Act (amended)

BILL NO. 150

(as introduced)

4th Session, 61st General Assembly
Nova Scotia
61 Elizabeth II, 2012



Government Bill



Residential Tenancies Act
(amended)



The Honourable John MacDonell
Minister responsible for the Residential Tenancies Act



First Reading: November 26, 2012

(Explanatory Notes)

Second Reading: November 27, 2012

Third Reading: December 4, 2012 (WITH COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS) (LINK TO BILL AS PASSED)

Explanatory Notes

Clause 1 amends the Residential Tenancies Act to add definitions of "Director of Victim Services", "domestic violence", "police agency" and "victim".

Clauses 2 and 3 establish processes for a tenant who is a victim of domestic violence to terminate the tenant's lease early. Clause 4 authorizes the Director of Residential Tenancies to set aside a tenant's notice to quit for failure by the tenant to give the notice and the certificate issued by the Director of Victim Services to the landlord as required by the Act. Clause 5 adds an immunity provision with respect to acts or omissions of Government employees or agents made in good faith while exercising authority under the Act. Clause 6 provides for the coming into force of the Act on proclamation.

An Act to Amend Chapter 401
of the Revised Statutes, 1989,
the Residential Tenancies Act

Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:

1 Section 2 of Chapter 401 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Residential Tenancies Act, as amended by Chapter 31 of the Acts of 1992, Chapter 40 of the Acts of 1993, Chapter 30 of the Acts of 2002 and Chapter 72 of the Acts of 2010, is further amended by

(a) adding immediately after clause (ab) the following clauses:

(aba) "Director of Victim Services" has the same meaning as in the Victims' Rights and Services Act, but includes a person authorized under Section 10G to exercise the powers and carry out the duties of the Director of Victim Services;

(abb) "domestic violence" has the same meaning as in the Domestic Violence Intervention Act;

(b) relettering clause (fa) as clause (fb);

(c) adding immediately after clause (f) the following clause:

(fa) "police agency" has the same meaning as "agency" in the Police Act;

and

(d) adding immediately after clause (j) the following clause:

(ja) "victim" has the same meaning as in the Domestic Violence Intervention Act;

2 (1) Chapter 401 is further amended by adding immediately after Section 10E the following Section:

10F (1) Notwithstanding Section 10, where a tenant in a year-to-year or fixed-term tenancy is a victim of domestic violence, the tenant may terminate the tenancy by giving the landlord(a) one month's notice to quit in the form prescribed by regulation; and(b) a certificate issued by the Director of Victim Services confirming that one of the grounds to issue a certificate under subsection 10H(2) has been established,

no later than 60 days after the date the certificate is issued.

(2) The landlord shall ensure that information in a certificate received from the tenant pursuant to subsection (1) is kept confidential.

(3) The landlord may apply to the Director of Residential Tenancies under Section 13 for an order setting aside the notice to quit only on the ground that the notice to quit and the certificate were not properly given to the landlord as required by subsection (1).

(4) Where a tenancy is terminated pursuant to subsection (1), the tenancy is terminated for all the tenants in the same residential premises but, for greater certainty, the other tenants and the landlord may agree to enter a new landlord and tenant relationship.

3 Chapter 401 is further amended by adding immediately after Section 10F the following heading and Sections:

CERTIFICATE CONFIRMING GROUNDS TO
TERMINATE TENANCY DUE TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

10G The Director of Victim Services may authorize one or more employees in the Department of Justice to exercise the powers and carry out the duties of the Director of Victim Services under Section 10H.

10H (1) Where a tenant in a year-to-year or fixed-term tenancy is a victim of domestic violence, the tenant may apply to the Director of Victim Services, in the form and manner and including the information required by the Director of Victim Services, for a certificate confirming that one of the grounds to issue a certificate under subsection (2) has been established.(2) The Director of Victim Services may issue a certificate to the tenant for the purpose of clause 10F(1)(b) if either of the following grounds is established:(a) an emergency protection order relating to the tenant has been issued under Section 11 of the Domestic Violence Intervention Act and has not been revoked under clause 12(1)(c) of that Act, and the tenant made the application for the certificate no later than 90 days after the date of the order; or

(b) the Director of Victim Services is satisfied that all of the following requirements are met:

(i) the tenant has filed a complaint respecting domestic violence with a police agency,

(ii) a peace bond or other order of a court has been issued that contains a condition that the person who is alleged to have committed the domestic violence have no contact with the tenant, and the peace bond or other court order is currently in force, and

(iii) after having completed an assessment, the Director of Victim Services has reason to believe the tenant is a victim of domestic violence for the purpose of the peace bond or order referred to in subclause (ii).

(3) For the purpose of this Section, the Director of Victim Services may request information from a police agency respecting a domestic violence complaint filed by the tenant with the police agency, and, where requested, the police agency must provide the information.(4) In considering an application under this Section, the Director of Victim Services is not required to hear or consider representations from the person who is alleged to have committed the domestic violence.(5) Subject to subsection (6), the decision by the Director of Victim Services to issue or refuse to issue a certificate under this Section is final and not subject to review or appeal.

(6) A tenant who is refused a certificate under this Section may re-apply for a certificate under this Section if there is a change in circumstances.

10I The Director of Victim Services cannot be compelled in a court or other proceeding, including a proceeding before the Director of Residential Tenancies, to

(a) give evidence about information obtained for the purpose of Section 10H; or

(b) produce any document or thing obtained for the purpose of Section10H.

4 Clause 17A(l) of Chapter 401, as enacted by Chapter 72 of the Acts of 2010, is amended by adding "or by a tenant under subsection 10F(1)" immediately after "(c)" in the third line.

5 Chapter 401 is further amended by adding immediately after Section 19A the following Section:
19B No action or proceeding may be brought against Her Majesty in right of the Province, the Director, a residential tenancy officer, the Director of Victim Services or any other employee or agent of Her Majesty for any act done or omitted to be done in good faith in the performance or intended performance of a duty or in the exercise or intended exercise of a power under this Act.
6 This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.


This page and its contents published by the Office of the Legislative Counsel, Nova Scotia House of Assembly, and © 2012 Crown in right of Nova Scotia. Created December 19, 2012. Send comments to legc.office@novascotia.ca.