Noce: Regulations are needed to prohibit the use of the condo for Airbnb rentals

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Question: I own a condo unit in a condominium complex of over 100 units. I am renting the unit as a short term rental on Airbnb. Some landlords have expressed aversion to short-term rentals and have called on council to make changes to bylaws that would ban short-term rentals. Can the council prevent me from renting my place on Airbnb? Please help me!

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To respond: The short answer is: maybe! Short-term rentals in condominiums through online services such as Airbnb or Vrbo are tricky matters. A decision from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (Condominium Corporation No 042 5177 v Kuzio, 2020 ABQB 152) clarifies the status of short-term tenants, stating that such arrangements where no residential rental lease is concluded, result in the functional equivalent of a hotel stay, where the guests/tenants are not residential tenants of the owner, but occupy the unit as licensees for consideration.

A residential lease grants certain rights in the land to the tenant. The same does not apply to licenses to occupy units, as a license does not create any interest in the land itself.

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And here’s the key to answering your question: Since nothing in the Condominium Act specifically prohibits condominiums from restricting short-term rentals (as opposed to residential rentals), short-term rentals are a permitted use of the property. unit of the owner unless the applicable statutes say otherwise. I assume, based on your question, that your bylaws are not clear on this point, hence the push for amendments. Check your status!

Useful advice: The decision of the Court of Queen’s Bench regarding short-term rentals is sound in my opinion. A condominium corporation has the power to restrict short-term rentals, but only if the restriction is set out in the bylaws. A condominium corporation cannot, under any board policy or rule, restrict the use of its unit by a landlord. Any valid restrictions on the use of units must be incorporated into the rules.

Roberto Noce, QC, is a partner at Miller Thomson LLP in the Edmonton and Calgary offices. He welcomes your questions at [email protected] The responses are not intended as legal advice; readers are cautioned not to act on the information provided without seeking legal advice on their particular situation. Follow Noce on Twitter at @RobertNoce.

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