Policies and Procedures

Public housing buildings

Public Housing Policies

The Nova Scotia Provincial Housing Agency is developing a new policy and operational framework for public housing. This will ensure housing is provided consistently and fairly to Nova Scotians in need while improving client service.

As new policies and processes are developed, they will be posted here.

Conflict of Interest Policy

Reduce the potential for conflict of interest within the NSPHA by defining the meaning and significance of apparent and actual conflicts of interest and providing the processes and tools for mitigating issues as they arise.

Appeals Policy
Policy and procedures that enable applicants and public housing tenants to appeal decisions made regarding decisions made on their cases.

Appealing a Decision

If you disagree with decisions made on your request to transfer to another public housing unit, rent calculations, unit calculations or tenant charges, you can request to appeal that decision. An appeal is a request to have a decision made by NSPHA reviewed. 

Submit an Appeal


NSPHA offers housing to eligible applicants based on their household composition, housing needs, and desired location. Over time, these factors may change. NSPHA annually reviews tenants’ household sizes and needs to make sure that their unit and housing needs match. In some cases, a household may have more bedrooms than occupants require – we consider this overhousing. The Overhousing Policy aims to move tenants who have more space than they need into appropriately sized units. By doing so, more families can access safe, suitable, and deeply affordable public housing.

Background: In 2022, the Auditor General’s Report recommended that the government implement lease renewal processes to verify the continued eligibility of public housing tenants. This includes assessing whether tenants may be overhoused.

In Spring 2023, NSPHA strengthened our processes to support the implementation of the existing overhousing policy. Over the past year, we have focused on addressing situations where tenants have two or more extra bedrooms — known as severe overhousing.

Households are typically overhoused for one of two reasons – a decrease in household members or a lack of suitable units available when housing was offered. When these households move to more suitable units, it creates more space to accommodate waitlisted families.  

Frequently Asked Questions

The Overhousing Policy is designed to address situations where tenants in public housing have more bedrooms than they need. To make better use of housing stock, the policy aims to move these tenants into right-sized units that meet their household needs. The demand for public housing continues to grow, and more families than ever are struggling to find affordable housing that provides the comfort and security they need to work and attend school.

Following the Auditor General’s recommendation, in Spring 2023 we updated the overhousing process and began a phased implementation that began by focusing on households with two or more extra bedrooms – known as severely overhoused. This helps ensure that housing resources are used efficiently and fairly, and allows us to maximize our units. 

A household is considered overhoused when the unit has more bedrooms than needed by the current tenants living there.

For example, an individual living alone in a three bedroom public housing apartment would be considered overhoused. 

This calculation is based on the National Occupancy Standards.

If you are severely overhoused (living in a unit where two or more bedrooms aren't being occupied), you may be asked to transfer to another unit. This process is collaborative and you will be able to select buildings in your preferred communities. 

We are committed to working closely with you to ensure you are placed in a unit in your preferred community that meets your needs according to your household size. NSPHA will assume all reasonable costs associated with moving and will provide support to assist in the moving process.

We understand that some tenants have lived in their home for decades and have strong ties to their community. If a household is identified as being overhoused, we may begin a collaborative process to find them a more suitable unit in their preferred community. Tenants can select specific properties, similar to the application process, and are able to move outside of their community if they chose to do so.

Overhoused households will receive a maximum of two offers of units. When an offer is accepted, NSPHA staff assist tenants with moving arrangements and ensure that all reasonable expenses associated with the move are covered.