Plateau Mont Royal taking action against excessive Airbnb rentals
Residents of the Plateau Mont Royal are getting fed up with Airbnb renters.
The neighbourhood is very popular among those using the rental service, with anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 apartments and home for rent during the year.
“They want to be in the heart of the city and the Plateau Mont Royal is a magnet, with four thousand places in location,” said Borough Mayor Luc Ferrandez
Data shows that 30 per cent of listings come from people who have more than one place for rent.
Ferrandez said complaints about Airbnb renters are now the most frequent complaint he receives.
"When somebody is coming every four days, every week, every three days, it's a new person coming right in the middle of the night. Sometimes a group of people so happy to be here, it's spring, it's sunny, they party, that go to the jazz festival, they party until 6:00 in the morning, windows open. It's all the people around them that are affected by this," said Ferrandez.
Resident Danielle Gagne said she’s had enough.
“Noise morning, noon and night and it’s impossible to sleep,” she said, adding that she’s seen some unsavoury elements. “We’ve seen sex work and drugs.”
Politicians like Ferrandez and the area's MNA Amir Khadir say the rentals are becoming a nuisance.
Ferrandez said occasional rentals are fine, such as if someone rents out their home while on vacation, but said when an apartment becomes a de facto hotel room it's a problem.
He said it's driving up rents, and said owners are breaking laws about commercial zoning.
He said hundreds are being evicted when buildings are purchased.
“I have an 84 year old lady coming in my office and saying I'm in the street, I don't know what to do,” he said.
The Plateau Mont Royal has taken legal action against some owners running what it has deemed "illegal hotels," and is trying to implement more frequent inspections.
Meanwhile Khadir is calling on the provincial government to alter the laws regarding rentals.
“What we are suggesting is a model that is inspired by Amsterdam where there has been an equilibrium between the rights of different people. So we're proposing that the platforms like Airbnb are rendered responsible,” he said.
He has suggested putting a cap on the number of days each year any property could be rented out on Airbnb or similar sites.
“We want to make sure that they control the number of days that are offered, past 60 days no one’s allowed to offer more,” he said.
Khadir also wants Airbnb to yank listings when the reach that cap, and to inform Revenu Quebec about income earned by owners.
Airbnb says they generally support regulations, but says the city or province has to enforce them themselves.
“A 60-day cap we think is very restrictive. There are thousands of families in Montreal and in Quebec that are home sharing and using this platform to make ends meet,” said Alex Dagg, Airbnb’s public policy manager.
As for the tax component, Airbnb says it's happy to pay its fair share.
“Airbnb has now 300 tax agreements all over the world where we have reached agreements with various levels of government to collect and remit hotel or tourist or accommodation taxes whatever model they have in that jurisdiction. We're in discussions with Quebec to do that,” said Dagg.