A landlord ordered to pay a former tenant more than $13,000 is taking the case to Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

It’s the latest step in a dispute between Bluenose Inn and Suites owner John Ghosn and tenant Brandy McGuire. The case is a test for last year’s amendments to Nova Scotia’s Residential Tenancies Act around renovictions.

Those amendments require tenants to agree in writing to a renoviction, they must be given three months notice, and they must be compensated between one and three months rent. If they can’t reach an agreement with tenants, landlords are required to apply to evict tenants. There’s added compensation owed to tenants if landlords don’t follow the rules.

Ghosn evicted McGuire from a room with a kitchenette in the deteriorating Bedford Highway hotel in April 2022. She was paying $1,400 for a room with a kitchenette for herself and four children. Despite an approved development agreement for the site, Ghosn argued it wasn’t a renoviction — the building was “no longer appropriately habitable,” and “past its economic life or lifespan.”

A woman wearing earrings, and a black sweater with a pink sweater overtop looks into the camera. Behind her are green and red leaves on trees.
Brandy McGuire — Contributed

McGuire took Ghosn to the Residential Tenancies Board, and in August, residential tenancies officer Jason Warham ruled in her favour. Warham ordered Ghosn to pay McGuire $13,662.15.

Ghosn appealed the ruling to small claims court. As the Halifax Examiner reported last month, adjudicator Eric Slone heard the case in January, and McGuire won again:

“So does it make any difference that this landlord may choose to leave the building empty for a period of time before demolishing it? I am of the view that this does not change anything,” Slone wrote.

“If a delay between eviction and demolition is enough to prevent the regime from applying, how much of a delay would count? And who would decide that?”

Slone ruled that if a landlord evicts a tenant to demolish a structure, then the new section applies, “regardless of how long it might take for the demolition to occur.”

“The term ‘retiring’ the building is a euphemism. A retired building is one that is slated for either renovation or demolition,” Slone wrote.

Slone found Warham’s ruling on relief for McGuire to be fair, and awarded the same amount.

Lawyer files new appeal

Ghosn’s lawyer, John Boyle, filed notice of appeal in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on March 7. He cited an “error of law.”

“The determination incorrectly applies the law of betterment and mitigation of damages, and fails to properly interpret the relevant provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act,” Boyle wrote.

“And the Appellant requests that the adjudicator within 30 days, transmit to the court a summary report of the findings of law and fact, including the basis of any findings raised in this Notice of Appeal and any interpretation of documents made by the adjudicator with a copy of any written reasons for the decision to the Court.”

There’s no hearing scheduled yet.

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

Join the Conversation


Only subscribers to the Halifax Examiner may comment on articles. We moderate all comments. Be respectful; whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims. Please read our Commenting Policy.
  1. Given the costs of an appeal, and the costs of defending oneself in an appeal, this appears to be a case of justice going to whoever has the most money to throw away.

  2. It’s a shame that the landlord keeps draging this out. Hopefully, the SC will double the award. The only problem then is that she, no doubt, will have to take him to court to have the award enforced. Nice guy.