Airbnb party creates year-long headache for Old Montreal neighbors

David K. Blum and other neighbors experienced near-night disruption from a unit that was advertised as a “bachelor loft (that) sleeps up to 16 people” and was rented to 1 $000 per night.

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It started as a loud party next door. But when it went on for days, David K. Blum called his friend who lived in the apartment and was informed that the friend had moved out.

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The party lasted more than a week, when on a whim Blum sought Airbnb and found an advertisement for the apartment in question.

“My heart sank,” Blum told the Montreal Gazette last week, “because I saw the pool table, what I heard — I didn’t know what it was — and table football. More importantly, I saw four beds in one room.

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Nearly a year later, Blum and other neighbors have experienced near-night disruption from places advertised on Airbnb and other sites, including, Expedia, Travelocity and as “Le Bachelor Party Loft Vieux-Montréal” and its variants, which “sleeps up to 16 people” at $1,000 a night.

“When I first found (the ad), the description was crazy,” Blum said. “It was like, ‘Come party until the wee hours of the morning.’ It was crazy.

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Blum tracked down the owner of the building, Shiller Lavy Real Estate. After many back and forths, he met the company’s property manager, Teresa Cristiano, and was put in touch with the tenant at 111A rue des Soeurs-Grises, who is called Amr.

“What I found out – I don’t know the exact number, but Shiller Lavy is renting a lot of units to this Amr guy.”

Blum met Amr, who said he was the son of a Saudi hotel company owner and ran a website called Hometrotting.comwhich also rents apartments in New York, Chicago and Toronto.

“He told me that in Montreal alone he has 60 (apartments),” Blum said.

Amr agreed to some concessions, such as moving the pool table away from the wall adjoining Blum’s apartment; he also adjusted the language of the advertisements to make them less obviously lewdly focused. (Some descriptions of the place boasted of “2 stripping poles inside the property” and that it was “the best for a bachelor event.”) But the noise continued.

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“Nothing happened,” Blum said. “The party was constant. I wrote to Shiller Lavy and said, “This has been going on for months; it’s a huge problem. If that doesn’t change, I’m going to have to act, and I don’t want to do that. ”

Blum showed the Montreal Gazette an official email he later received from Shiller Lavy’s attorney, Tiffany Hanskamp, ​​on December 5, asking him to cease all communication with Shiller Lavy employees and go through her to move on.

Feeling that their exchange was not productive, Blum stopped communicating with Hanskamp and Shiller Lavy. He was then out of the country from January to May, but returned to find the problem persisted.

“The feeling I got from all of this is that Shiller Lavy didn’t want to ruffle Amr’s feathers because they do so much business with him. But at the end of the day, there’s myself, the guy on the other side and the guy upstairs (who live with it). It’s non-stop.”

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Shiller Lavy did not respond to Montreal Gazette requests for comment.

Blum estimates that there are parties five nights a week in the apartment. He describes trash left on the sidewalk on random days, people drinking on the roof, and rowdy antics until all hours. The police have been called more times than he can count.

Another neighbor, who lives on McGill Street, confirmed Blum’s claims.

“I call the cops every weekend,” said the neighbor, who asked that his name not be used. “It’s been almost a year now, almost every night. … It’s awful. It is not tolerable. This should not be allowed. It is a residential area. We all share space together, but what they do is out of control.

The trustee of a nearby building, who preferred to remain anonymous, said all of his tenants were disturbed by the situation.

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“It drives us crazy,” he said.

Montreal police said they could not comment on specific cases and all complaints are confidential.

Blum was in contact with a Montreal city inspector, who looked into the situation last week. The city confirmed to the Montreal Gazette that it had received a complaint about the operation of illegal tourist accommodation and commercial activity outside the address. The information was sent to Revenu Québec and the host was informed, according to municipal spokesperson Audrey Gauthier. She said a city inspector has been assigned to the case.

This can help reverse the trend. Last week, the Airbnb listing for the apartment disappeared; it remains on and other sites.

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Until very recently, the apartment was rented on Airbnb by a “superhost” named Mike, and before that by someone named Hakim.

In one history of Radio Canada on the companies behind some Airbnb profiles, Mike was revealed to be a fake name with a stock photo used by Hakim. The CBC quoted Hakim, who said he used the pseudonym due to previous racist comments about his appearance.

Mike was recently replaced by “Seb”. But Seb isn’t real either. Although described on Airbnb as a Montrealer and “a recent college grad who has a computer job in town,” nearly every 68-year-old Seb Advertisement can also be found on Hometrotting.comand a quick search revealed that his photo was a image bank widely used online.

Seb joined Airbnb in 2010, according to His profile, and his properties have been reviewed 8,200 times – “more reviews than anyone”, according to the CBC story, which called him “one of the most prolific Airbnb hosts in Canada”. Old reviews of Seb’s Lists contain references to both Mike and Hakim.

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Airbnb did not respond to requests for comment. A phone call to the number Blum had for Amr led to international ringing and a voicemail recording indicating that the person at that number was unavailable. Calls to Hometrotting Montreal on Friday and Saturday were answered by an employee who said Seb was responsible for renting the apartments, but was out of the country. A message was left for Seb and/or Hakim, but neither called back at press time.

Blum’s troubles aren’t over. On Friday afternoon, he sent the Montreal Gazette a short video he had just taken of nine young men (out of a total of about 30, he says) leaving 111A, rue des Sœurs-Grises, as well as only photos of a rental minibus they had boarded.

The night was still shaping up to be long.

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