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AJAs 2020 Finalists

Lawyer: Tenant evicted by demolition


Date Aired or Published Dec 5, 2020
Media outlet where first aired or published: The Chronicle Herald
Name of Program: Andrew Rankin
If co-produced, list partner:
Location: Halifax
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

This story provides a dramatic illustration of the acute shortage of affordable housing in Halifax, which has heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the power imbalance landlords and/or developers hold over tenants. In the fall of 2020, Nova Scotia enacted legislation that temporarily banned “renovictions” during the pandemic. This story chronicles a tenant being evicted by demolition during the pandemic and the minimal fines the developer faced as a consequence. It illustrates that the penalty and fines do not deter the developer and highlighted the significant power imbalance in favour of the developer. Days before the “demolition” occurred, the reporter spotted the tenant at the centre of this story in the parking lot of the apartment building. He spoke to the man and found out about his situation. The developer/ landlord had not followed the legal process to evict tenants. The tenant stood up against the company and scheduled a residential tenancy board hearing to argue his case. Despite the upcoming hearing, the developer went ahead and arranged for an excavator to arrive on-site and destroy the tenant’s apartment. The reporter spotted the excavator and "demoviction" in progress. In response to the story, Halifax Regional Municipality proposed legislation that would prohibit the city from issuing landlords and/or developers demolition permits while their tenants are still in the building.

Resources of the newsroom (money and time) available to complete the story:

Previous to this story, The Chronicle Herald ran a series of stories reporting on mass evictions in Halifax during the pandemic and the devastating effect they had on people's lives. Our skilled photographer was made available to shoot this story, which appeared on the front page of the paper, ensuring maximum effect on the reader.

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