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Verdun Airbnb listing taken down amid complaints, fines and frustration from neighbours

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Neighbours say the building on Bannantyne Avenue near Hickson Street in Montreal's Verdun borough is known as the infamous Airbnb.

"There's usually parties every weekend," said Pierre S. Fortier.

Those living close to the location are fed up, saying parties last late into the night and sometimes into the early morning.

"My girlfriend, when she walks the dog in the morning, it's like around 6:00 in the morning, and parties, they keep on going," said Fortier.

In Montreal, short-term rentals available for fewer than 31 days must have a certificate from the city.

In an email to CTV News, the Verdun borough said the address did not have such a certificate and that, following several inspections, the borough sent owner Karim Kamal a $2,500 fine.

Kamal's assistant told CTV News that he would not be doing interviews.

The borough also advised Revenue Quebec, which has the power to hand out heftier fines.

"Revenue Québec is dealing diligently with all complaints and reports received," spokesperson Claude-Olivier Fagnant said in an email. "Kamal Capital Inc. and its director Karim Olivier Kamal have already received five statements of offence relating to short-term tourist accommodation. A hearing in one of these cases is scheduled for June 10."

Tourist accommodation data is published quarterly on the Revenue Quebec website.

Fagnant said the agency has conducted 528 inspections in Montreal and issued 428 statements of offence.

In total, 279 convictions were handed down and $1,192,425 in fines were imposed, he added.

Tourist accommodation data is published quarterly on our website. These data are broken down by region and show that for the first three quarters of the 2023-2024 fiscal year (April 1 to December 31, 2023), Revenu Québec conducted 528 inspections in the Montréal region alone. During this period, 428 statements of offence were issued, 279 convictions were handed down, and a total of $1,192,425 in fines was imposed on offenders.

Housing advocates say illegal short-term rentals continue to be a problem months after the adoption of legislation to address the sissue.

RCLALQ (Regroupement des comites logement et associations de locataires du Quebec) spokesperson Cedric Dussault said there are loopholes in the law and it's why there are still so many Airbnbs across Quebec.

"Now we're up to more than 31,000 in the province of Quebec," he said. "And we know that still a vast majority of them are also illegal."

The City of Montreal has a squad to crack down on illegal listings, but said it needs more collaboration from the province.

"We have inspectors, we put pressure on and want to put more pressure on," said city councillor Robert Beaudry.

Quebec Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx said everything is in place so that everyone "can play their role."

"The rise in registration rates and the fines imposed to date ($3.9 million) demonstrate this," said Proulx.

The listing for Verdun's so-called infamous Airbnb has been taken down, but advocates say it's a drop in the bucket.

Airbnb said it follows Quebec's system and that it has long advocated for "a system that better allows us to verify host-submitted information against government data," said spokesperson Matt McNama.

In relation to the listing in Verdun, McNama said Airbnb did not receive any complaints from neighbours about the address.

"Our community disturbance policy prohibits disruptive and unauthorized parties in Airbnb listings as well as so-called 'party houses,'" he said. "There are consequences for those who attempt to violate these rules, from account suspension to removal from the platform." 

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