Montreal borough votes to restrict Airbnb-style rentals in downtown areas

MONTREAL – A borough of Montreal is implementing new rules to limit the number of short-term rentals in the city center in the hope of preventing conflicts between tourists and residents.

Ville-Marie borough councilors adopted a new motion on Tuesday evening to restrict private tourist rentals such as those offered on Airbnb.

The rules will limit new permits for “tourist residences” to a 3.3-kilometer stretch surrounding one of the city’s busiest shopping streets and prevent new rentals from opening within 150 meters of any of the streets. others.

City documents say the regulation is designed to “dramatically limit” the number of short-term rentals in order to “avoid problematic cohabitation issues between tourists and residents.”

“The elected officials want the city center to remain an inhabited environment, healthy and conducive to the establishment of families,” said the city in a recent statement.

The province defines a tourist residence as any unit rented regularly for 31 days or less.

Real Carbonneau, which owns a unit in the Tour des Canadiens condo tower next to Montreal’s bustling Bell Center, estimates that about half of the units in the building are rented on Airbnb full-time and are “at pretty much full-time hotel rooms ”.

He says he’s tired of hearing the noise of late-night evenings and an endless parade of weird tourists has left him feeling unsafe.

On one momentous occasion, he opened his door to see a hallway stained with vomit and the tenants passed out in front of an open unit door.

Carbonneau said he tried to talk to his board and managers, but got nowhere because “there is so much money in there that nobody cares.”

While he welcomes the new rules to crack down on full-time traders, he is skeptical that the new rules will change much.

He said existing rules are rarely enforced, noting that many operators of his building are already defying a provincial requirement to register their units and pay rent taxes.

“All of these people were doing it illegally before, people will continue to do it illegally afterwards, and the people who held permits will continue to hold them,” he said in a telephone interview.

Cities across Canada are also grappling with how to regulate short-term rentals amid broader concerns that they are contributing to housing unaffordability and pulling long-term rentals off the market.

Over the past year, the governments of Quebec and British Columbia have entered into agreements with Airbnb in which the platform agreed to collect taxes on short-term rentals.

Cities like Toronto and Vancouver have their own rules in place, including a recent Vancouver City Council decision to restrict listings to an owner’s primary residence, with a few exceptions.

A 2017 study by McGill University found that Airbnb had removed as many as 14,000 units from rental markets in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

He also found that a small number of large commercial property owners accounted for almost half of the $ 430 million annual income in the three Canadian cities.

These findings have been disputed by Airbnb, which claims that the vast majority of users are ordinary people who occasionally rent out some or all of their primary residence to earn money and pay their bills.

Of the approximately 14,300 “whole house listings” in Montreal, more than 80% were rented for less than 180 days between May 2017 and May 2018, the company said earlier this week.

Almost two-thirds, or 63 percent, were enrolled for less than 90 days.

“Put simply, entire real estate listings on Airbnb are not a driver of house prices in Montreal,” the company said in a statement.

Airbnb added that it is keen to work with the city to ensure the new rules balance affordability issues and the right of people to share their homes.

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