MONTREAL -- An Ottawa couple with property in Dollard-des-Ormeaux could face fines of up to $50,000 after trying and failing to get a permit to rent their unit on Airbnb.

Kimberly and Jay Brotztman began renting their West Island property on Airbnb when Kimberly lost her job.

But provincial rules that require renters have permits recently came into effect. The Brotztmans applied but were denied.

"We got the letter, we were told to cease and desist, and we asked if we could honour the bookings we had. And we were told: 'we don't know the answer.'" Kimberly said.

"So there's our thriving business down the tube," Jay added.

The couple said the rules for Airbnb ownership aren't clear and aren't being properly enforced.

In Dollard-des-Ormeaux, running a business out of your home is illegal. A city spokesperson said that law included Airbnb. The city tries to shut down Airbnbs as soon as they go online, the spokesperson added.

But, CTV News found dozens of Airbnbs online for rent in the city.

With files from CTV Montreal's Billy Shields.