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Keep Your Rent - Halifax Information & FAQ

(Adapted and localized from Toronto's Keep Your Rent)

Some of us have run out of money or don’t have much left. Some of us may have barely enough and are hoping things don’t get worse. Some of us may be okay right now and are telling ourselves things will work out. But none of us knows for sure. What we do know is people are getting sick. People are losing their jobs or are having their hours cut. We know schools are closed. We know lines at grocery stores are long. We know we should try to prepare. We know we need to be responsible. We know some people feel scared. We know some people feel alone. We know people need help now, and more will soon.


And we all know rent is due.


We should keep our rent. Our landlords will be fine. We may not be. No tenant should feel forced to hand over so much money when faced with so much uncertainty. You should keep your rent. Whatever you have, hang on to it. Once you give it to your landlord, it’s gone. You won’t have it for food or for medicine. You won’t have it for you, your family, your friends, your neighbours, or your co-workers – no-one. Your landlord will have it. It will go in their bank account and it will secure their investments. While you and everyone you care about stares down the barrel of insecurity.


Sure, it’s against the rules. The rules say that when the calendar says the 1st, the landlord gets paid. Not this time. We’re keeping our rent. We will not be forced to go without because those with so much say we should. We know what we should do. We should support each other, we should defend each other, and we should provide for each other.


So that’s what we will do. We will keep our rent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why keep my rent?

You may need it. COVID-19 may be a long-term public health crisis. The number of people who have lost their jobs continues to grow. The pandemic is already making life harder for many of us, and we can’t afford to assume it is going away anytime soon.


There is strength in numbers. Thousands of us deciding to keep our rent gives us the resources to better provide for the health and well-being of our families and communities. Social distancing helps stop the spread of COVID-19. It doesn’t stop us from taking the collective action of keeping our rent.

Aren’t there no more evictions?

The government has suspended evictions for rental arrears for three months if the tenant’s income has been affected by COVID-19. However, there has thus far been no support for residential tenants, so working out payment arrangements—which are still expected for the duration of the pandemic—have been left to individual tenants and landlords. This is further reason why tenants should work together to challenge their landlord.

When the eviction suspension ends, won’t everyone get evicted?

Hearings are to be scheduled for after June 22, 2020, and you will be asked to provide evidence of financial hardship due to COVID-19. This requires the serving of a Form D to you, the tenant, over unpaid rent, while a Form K can be sought to evict a tenant without a hearing. However, you (or the landlord) can also file a Form J with Access Nova Scotia to proceed with a hearing. If an eviction is granted, it will include all rental amounts for the duration of the pandemic. It is important to remember that this process is not necessarily an automatic ‘win’ for landlords, and the more support each individual tenant has from other tenants the more likely the landlord is to not pursue the matter.

Keeping my rent could be riskier for me than for other people. Why should I take part?

Keeping our rent might be riskier for some people than others. Especially if they are forced to go it alone. It’s important to acknowledge that. This makes it especially important for tenants in more secure positions to not just participate but commit to defending one another down the road, if it comes to that. For the most marginalized among us, Keep Your Rent is not a choice — it’s a necessity. Either they need that money to feed their family, or they just don’t have it to begin with. If you think you are in a position to choose, please choose to stand with others who aren’t. Marginalized people are most at risk when singled out and isolated. Keep Your Rent is about acting together, so that those who are most marginalized are not left to deal with this crisis alone.

What might my landlord do?

  1. Legal action

    The eviction process is the main vehicle through which landlords can leverage their power against tenants, as noted above.

  2. Undermine organizing

    To undermine tenants collectively keeping our rent, big, corporate landlords will come out with rent deferral or rent relief schemes. These programs will not benefit tenants. Instead, they will put tenants into rent repayment agreements with their landlord. Landlords want to make individual deals with tenants, rather than with a collective, because it preserves the relational power dynamic--in addition to being a classic ‘divide and conquer’ strategy.

    Individual landlords may directly confront tenants who keep their rent. They may try and intimidate and harass tenants.

  3. So what can we do about that?

    Landlords are often brave and confident when dealing with individual tenants. Not so much when there’s more of us. It’s critical that the people around us know what is going on and that we support each other. Within buildings and on blocks people can keep in touch about what is going on and what landlords may be trying to do. Word can also be spread through social media. Landlord’s phone numbers can be found, and their homes and businesses can be visited just as easily as our homes can be. This is not something they enjoy. But it is very much something we should be willing to do. Together.

My rent is paid directly by my bank or government support programs. How can I keep my rent?

Tenants whose rent is paid directly to the landlord can keep their rent too. Contact your bank online or by phone and cancel your landlord as a payee immediately. They can be reinstated later.


If your rent is paid through a government program like Income Assistance (IA), speak with your caseworker about your situation—tell them to put rental payments on hold for the duration of the dispute.

I live in a small building. Can I keep my rent?

Tenants in small buildings or single units like basement apartments might feel isolated and less confident in keeping their rent. This is why we’re creating ways to connect with tenants by phone, and online through our Find Your Neighbours form. Join in and stay in touch! By keeping your rent, you make it possible for other tenants to feel more confident in keeping theirs. Ongoing communication will be critical for our ability to respond in cases requiring collective support. 

The government has made lots of announcements. Can’t we just wait for rent relief?


The government has made a lot of announcements, but they have not cancelled rent. We have no reason to believe they will. By keeping our rent, we take back authority over our lives and our families’ futures.



Why aren’t we pushing for stronger government action?

The clock is ticking. May 1 is around the corner. We can make this decision now. This decision will put more pressure on the government than any petition or letter to the editor. At the same time, we guarantee ourselves access to our own money—two birds, one stone.

What about my landlord?


Landlords’ resources will allow them to withstand the COVID-19 pandemic better than most, while tenants are more and more concerned with our daily survival. The government has already announced financial support and mortgage suspensions for businesses and landlords. By keeping our rent, we will have more money for groceries, medicine, disinfectant supplies, and other basic necessities. Our landlords will be fine without our rent. We may not be.

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