'123456': license numbers displayed on Airbnb in Quebec raise eyebrows | Airbnb management in Quebec

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« 123456”: license numbers displayed on Airbnb in Quebec raise eyebrows | Airbnb management in Quebec

Hosts are using dodgy license numbers to continue renting their properties short term on Airbnb.

Despite its commitments, Airbnb continues to host on its platform accommodations offered for short-term rental which are apparently not legally registered with the Corporation of the x27;Tourism Industry of Quebec (CITQ).

A verification of data shared on Wednesday evening by the monitoring site Inside Airbnb allowed Radio-Canada to find that, while listings without a license number no longer show availability, several hosts have listed the same number. ;registration to continue enjoying the services of the multinational.

In Montreal, for example, 29 dwellings bearing the license number 123456 were still offered Thursday afternoon by various advertisers, in different sectors of the island.

However, the numbers assigned by the CITQ to owners who wish to rent their main residence for the short term are unique. Nor does the 123456 license appear on the Bonjour Québec website, where all tourist accommodation establishments in the province are listed.

Airbnb made a strong commitment last Friday to disable non-compliant listings and add a mandatory registration field to force hosts wishing to rent their short-term listings to register their certification number – measures that x27;entry into force had been promised for Tuesday, March 28.

However, our checks on Thursday suggest that the multinational is not checking whether the registration number provided does correspond to an existing licence, Radio-Canada having even managed to create a 30th announcement bearing the number 123456.

The CITQ database, however, does not ;is not public.

Relaunched on this subject, Airbnb refused to grant us an interview on Thursday.

By email, however, the multinational pointed out that in Quebec, the province issues the CITQ number directly to hosts, not to Airbnb.

As such, it is the responsibility of the province to enforce its legislation, she argued, while recalling that it had made its cities portal available to the government, so as to facilitate monitoring of host compliance.

The addition of a mandatory registration field to force owners to enter their tourist license number nevertheless seems to have had an effect on the amount of accommodation offered on the platform.

In Montreal, for example, the most recent data from Inside Airbnb indicates that this number fell from 14,289 to 6,987 from March 16 to 29, a drop of just over 50 %.

The rate of accommodation available for short-term rental has also slipped from 83% to 40% in the same period – a ratio that could climb again in the future if hosts continue to be able to list any license number, according to Inside Airbnb founder Murray Cox.

“Based on what we has happened before in other cities, we expect this fraudulent use to increase as hosts attempt to return to Airbnb. »

— Murray Cox, Founder of Inside Airbnb

For this reason, Inside Airbnb and the Regroupement des Comités Logement et Associations de Tenants du Québec (RCLALQ) are calling on the Legault government to take action without delay to tighten the legislation.

Quebec, they argue, must urgently move forward to hold platforms like Airbnb accountable for the legality of properties listed on their site – something Tourism Minister Caroline has already promised to do. Proulx, despite the commitment made by the multinational last week.

The RCLALQ is concerned to see the rental stock in Quebec being transformed for tourist purposes while there is a housing crisis. According to extensive research, the results of which were made public on Monday, Airbnb last month offered nearly 30,000 homes for rent across the province.

The short-term rental debate has been reignited in recent weeks after the fire that killed seven people in a heritage building in Old Montreal where most units were rented through x27;Airbnb.

Pointed out for her inaction in this file, Minister Proulx announced in the days that followed an imminent modification of the regulatory framework, even going so far as to summon Airbnb representatives to her offices to warn them in advance. nobody of his intention to make them accountable.

A new meeting between the two parties was also scheduled for Thursday.

We are going to continue the conversations with them, there is still an effort that has been made this week, which I welcome, but I remain firm on my intentions of amending regulations as soon as possible, i.e. before the end of the parliamentary session, said the Minister on her arrival at the Blue Room.

Ms. Proulx is aware that some owners use questionable license numbers. In a statement sent to CBC a few days ago, his department also claimed to have found that several platforms [were] promoting accommodation without a number or with a fake registration number.

“We're trying to find all these cracks here [sic] to have a bill that we will introduce as soon as possible. »

— Caroline Proulx, Quebec Minister of Tourism

Adopted in 2021, the Tourist Accommodation Act requires owners to have a license to be allowed to rent their accommodation on a short-term basis. Rentals of 31 nights or more, to which many advertisers on Airbnb seem to have turned, fall under another legal framework.

Some municipalities also prohibit short-term rentals on part or all of their territory. These regulations, however, remain largely ignored, both on Airbnb and other digital platforms.

With information from Yessica Chavez, Sarah Leavitt, Mélanie Meloche- Holubowski and Marie-Isabelle Rochon

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