Montreal Airbnb hosts ordered to pay more than $50,000 to condominium syndicate

The management of the condo complex had hired private investigators to catch tenants renting units through Airbnb.

Content of the article

Tenants of a downtown Montreal condo complex have been ordered to pay more than $50,000 after an undercover investigation revealed they were renting units on Airbnb against building regulations.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

After several attempts to fix the problem, building management hired private detectives last June to go undercover and renting the units online, proving tenants were using the short-term rental service.

The complex’s condominium syndicate then used the evidence gathered to obtain court orders for the tenants to stop renting the units online and pay damages for other residents of the building.

Content of the article

“It was a necessary step and I think the judgment lets people know what to expect if they continue to rent their units,” said Serge Labelle of MC Finance, the company that manages the syndicate. “It is a clear and precise message that this kind of situation is not allowed and will not be tolerated.”

The condo complex in question, the Roccabella towers on René-Lévesque Boulevard, prohibits short-term rentals by its declaration of co-owners and its building rules. These were tenants who had signed long-term leases with landlords who then rented the units on Airbnb.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

In his judgment, Quebec Superior Court Judge Christian J. Brossard wrote that the tenants knew that by renting the condos on Airbnb “they were probably seriously infringing on the rights (of other residents) and free enjoyment and peace of their property”.

The judge sentenced a tenant and landlord to pay the syndicate a total of $37,000 and another tenant to pay $16,000. Brossard also ordered them to stop renting the units on any short-term rental websites. Two of them appealed against the judgment but saw their appeal dismissed last week.

Management responded to the situation after repeated complaints about noise, people not knowing how to use the facilities, and rubbish left in the hallways, among other things.

One of the tenants, using the name “Mtl Luxury” on Airbnb, had advertised their unit on the platform as coming with access to the building’s communal pool, hot tub and gym.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

The court applications had argued that the tenants had acted in a “clandestine and fraudulent manner” and “had developed a scheme to avoid being unmasked”.

So as not to be detected, the documents say they had someone else hand over the keys to the tenants, did not list the real address on Airbnb, had people meet nearby rather than in the resort itself and asked them to leave the keys inside the unit to not arouse suspicion at the front desk.

The ensuing investigation caught the tenants in the act. As an undercover GardaWorld investigator collected the keys to a unit after renting it on Airbnb – for the price of $900 for two nights – another investigator filmed the transaction from his car.

Court order applications claimed short-term rentals have “evolved to the detriment” of all Montrealers.

“Originally, online short-term rental platforms were intended to be an innovative concept of the sharing economy,” the requests state. “A few years later… the foundation of the sharing economy has given way to a thirst for enrichment made insatiable by rental income as astronomical as it is spontaneous.”

[email protected]

Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. See our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Comments are closed.