Do I need to sign a lease or tenancy agreement?

No. However, if a written lease exists, it must include elements of a prescribed lease outlined in the regulations. Without a lease, the landlord-tenant relationship is still guided by the standard terms of the prescribed lease.

A written-agreement form is available online by the Government of Nova Scotia:

Types of rental periods, which determine how long you can stay in the apartment:

  • Periodic Lease: the rental period can relate to a calendar week, month, or year
  • Fixed Term Lease: lease of predetermined period

Is a signed move in/move out condition report required?

No. It is voluntary but a copy is available online by the Government of Nova Scotia:

May the landlord request a security deposit?

Yes, but there are regulations:

  • A security deposits may not exceed ½ of a month’s rent.
  • The landlord has to return the deposit with 1% per year interest at the end of the tenancy.
  • If landlords want to keep some or all of the deposit, they must apply to Residential Tenancies for permission.

May the landlord request key money?

No, requiring key money is illegal. Landlords may only request a security deposit.  However, tenants may face a penalty if they lock themselves out and new keys need to be issued to them.

May the landlord request post-dated cheques?

Yes, but post-dated cheques may only be requested as long as the specific box on the standard lease is ticked; otherwise they cannot be required.

May a landlord refuse to rent to a tenant who has pets or smokes?

Yes, but tenants must be given a copy of the rules prior to signing a lease.  Changes in a landlord’s rules can be made with four months notice to the tenant prior to the anniversary date of the lease. This allows the tenant enough time to give the landlord notice that the lease will not be renewed if the tenant does not agree with any new or amended rule.