Airbnb rentals on the Plateau spark debate over ownership

With its alternative cafes, restaurants and thrift stores, the Plateau neighborhood may seem like a thriving neighborhood to anyone who grew up outside of Montreal. However, in reality, the online short-term rental platform Airbnb has led to the eviction of long-time residents, rising property prices and the closure of small businesses. Thus, two housing committees in the Plateau-Mont Royal and Ville Marie sectors are calling for a to prohibit on the platform in Montreal.

The platform has enabled an increasing number of buildings to be turned into makeshift hotels with registrations all year round. According to Urban Policy and Governance Research Group (UPGo) at McGill69 percent of listings in the Plateau alone are for entire homes rather than private rooms.

In December 2015, the Quebec government adopted Bill 67 regulate tourist accommodation throughout Quebec and ensure compliance with Quebec tax laws. Later, on July 21, 2017, Came back to Quebec and Airbnb came to a agreement that Airbnb’s sub-letters would pay Revenu Quebec a 3.5% housing tax per night rented. Last year, Bill 150 was passed on June 12, 2018 to regulate companies that attempt to profit from Airbnb.

“[Under Bill 150], Revenu Québec is [now] responsible [for] the new inspection program in the tourist accommodation sector in order to monitor operators’ compliance with tax laws and regulations, ”wrote Geneviève Laurier, spokesperson for Public Relations for Revenu Québec, in an email to // The McGill Tribune //. “Following these changes, Revenu Québec deployed a team of 25 people to carry out information and awareness programs throughout Quebec.

To make it easier to distinguish between long-term commercial ads and short-term rentals, UPGo, which works with the Plateau-Mont Royal Housing Committee find solutions, asked Airbnb to make its user and rental data available to the Government of Quebec. Airbnb continues to be reluctant to cooperate.

On March 16, the committee held a Airbnb Forum to which the residents of Plateau-Mont Royal could express their dissatisfaction with the online platform. Odile Lanctôt, vice-chair of the committee’s board of directors, shared the last to study on the impact of Airbnb in Quebec.

“It is the idea of ​​privatizing urban space, encouraged by Airbnb, which endangers the community life of central districts,” said Lanctôt. “This leads to the homogenization of these areas […] and the commodification through tourism of cultural, social life […], [limiting] access from working-class neighborhoods to […] urban life. “

Robert, a tenant who requested anonymity, described to the rest of the forum the disruptive experience of having neighbors replaced with apartments for rent.

“I’ve lived in the same apartment on the Plateau for twenty years now,” says Robert. “Since this new company bought the building […], every time a tenant moves, the landlord takes care of the accommodation the next day, installs a keyboard […] and completely renovates the whole. […] Thus, out of the eight apartments [in my building], we are currently only two tenants […], the rest being Airbnb.

Robert misses the sense of community he shared with his neighbors.

“I lost a lot of quality of life,” said Robert. “I don’t know how long I will be able to live here because, ultimately, all [my landlord] want me to go [….] But, I love my apartment, I love where I live.

Vicky Langevin, community organizer for the committee, acknowledges that the Airbnb ban may impact tenants who welcome the convenience of the platform, such as students. Ultimately, however, she believes a ban is justified as a way to prevent big companies from buying and renting apartments.

“We understand this [this ban] can have a negative impact on some people, but unfortunately […], the majority [of Airbnb rentals are from companies], Langevin said. “We are not at all against people who rent their accommodation while they are away […], but, via Airbnb, [the situation] To [gotten] out of control.”

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