Most Airbnb hosts are not registered in Quebec, 1 year after the law came into force

The majority of Quebecers who list their properties on Airbnb and other home rental websites are not registering with the province, just over a year after a law was put in place to regulate them, according to new data.

Tourisme Québec claims to have issued 967 guest permits out of 2,244 requests in the year since the law came into force on April 15, 2016.

There were 19,400 Airbnb hosts in Quebec in 2016, according to company data, and that doesn’t include people who rent their homes on other websites such as VRBO and Kijiji. This would suggest a compliance rate of less than 5% among Airbnb hosts alone.

The law, unique of its kind in Canada, requires people who rent accommodation for a maximum of 31 consecutive days to hold a permit and pay a hotel tax.

People who break the law can face fines ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 per day, while businesses face fines ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 per day.

“The provincial law is quite onerous and overly complicated,” said Alex Dagg, director of Canadian public policy at Airbnb.

Potential changes to the law?

Airbnb and the provincial government discussed changing the law. As an example, company spokesman Christopher Nulty cited Philadelphia, where hosts who rent accommodation for 90 to 180 days must pay for a permit, but those who host fewer days are exempt.

Jean-Pierre D’Auteuil, spokesperson for Tourisme Québec, said there are already exemptions. People who rent accommodation during a specific festival or tourist event are allowed to do so once a year without registering, as are people who rent their house when they are in a chalet.

Airbnb, one of the most popular online vacation rental services, has several apartments available for rent in Montreal.

Many Airbnb hosts do not need certification because their activities fall under these exemptions, D’Auteuil said.

But according to Airbnb data, the median number of nights Quebec hosts rented their homes was 30 last year, indicating more frequent activity.

The hospitality industry has often complained that Airbnb and other similar companies are eating away at their business and getting an unfair head start because their hosts don’t face the same stringent regulatory requirements, like taxes and security measures. security.

Nulty says Airbnb doesn’t dispute that its hosts have to pay taxes. He says Airbnb would support stricter registration and regulatory requirements for people who rent a second home or vacation property, adding that such hosts represent a small part of its business.

D’Auteuil said the tourism department was continuing discussions with various groups and reviewing potential improvements to the law, but he declined to say whether the government would be willing to establish different regulations for hosts based on frequency at which they rent spaces.

Comments are closed.