Airbnb, like other tourist rental platforms, should be banned in Quebec because it is exacerbating the housing crisis by monopolizing 29,482 apartments, 79% of which are rented illegally, according to tenant defense organizations.
Although the short-term rental giant has announced its intention to remove all illegal advertisements from its website, this is not enough, according to the Regroupement des committees logement et associations de tenants du Québec (RCLALQ), since even apartments registered with the authorities have an impact on the rental stock.
“We see that Airbnb is a multinational company that does not comply with regulations in several places around the world. On the contrary, it allows its users to circumvent the rules”, denounces Cédric Dussault, spokesperson for the RCLALQ, who doubts Airbnb’s good will to comply with Quebec law.
Even before the fatal fire in Old Montreal, where seven people perished, several after renting illegal apartments on Airbnb, the RCLALQ had commissioned a study on the Airbnb effect across the province.
We learn that in some places, 22% of the rental stock is found on Airbnb (like in Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges). Other tourist areas are also affected by this impact: Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard (17.4%), Mont-Tremblant (13.7%), the Montreal neighborhoods of Faubourg Saint-Laurent (11.7%) , Plateau (3.1%) and Peter McGill (Old Montreal) (4.1%).
“These numbers show in black and white that Airbnb alone is responsible for a significant portion of the housing shortage. In most regions, if the units rented on Airbnb had not been lost to tourist accommodation, the vacancy rate would be in equilibrium or above the equilibrium threshold,” argues Mr. Dussault.
According to him, certification does not solve everything, since the heart of the problem is not illegality, but the transformation of the rental stock for tourist purposes.
“We are talking here about tenants who are legally evicted to rent their homes to tourists, or investors who buy homes for the sole purpose of renting them out on Airbnb. Legal or not, platforms like Airbnb are a scourge that greatly aggravates the housing crisis,” insists Cédric Dussault.
Airbnb had announced that all listings without a Corporation de l’industrie touristique du Québec (CITQ) registration number would be removed on Tuesday. But at the end of the day, few homes had disappeared from the platform. Listings that previously did not have a registration number now have one, even for apartments located in areas where tourist rentals are prohibited, such as Old Montreal or Verdun.
At the end of the day on Tuesday, Airbnb had not responded to our questions on this subject.