(Montreal) The Legault government pledged on Tuesday to ensure that the companies behind Airbnb-type temporary rental platforms are held responsible for illegal ads that are published on their site before the summer.
In the wake of the deadly fire in a building in Old Montreal where accommodation was allegedly illegally rented for tourist purposes, the opposition parties asked the government to put in place before the end of the parliamentary session the necessary means to prevent this type of practice.
Two motions were adopted to this effect on Tuesday afternoon in the National Assembly, including one calling for a revision of the Law on tourist accommodation by June 9. In the motion, it is hoped that the operators of digital platforms will be obliged to “verify the compliance of the tourist accommodation they advertise and to remove illegal advertisements”.
“I think we have made efforts and I think we have to go further and then we have to hold these sites accountable. With the collaboration, I hope, of all the oppositions, I think we are able to do this before the end of the session, ”said Premier François Legault.
He had just been arrested at the Salon bleu by the parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire (QS), Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who criticized the CAQ government for having waited for a tragedy to announce better supervision of temporary accommodation such as Airbnb. .
Mr. Legault criticized Mr. Nadeau-Dubois “for mixing a fire with the rules concerning Airbnb”.
On Monday, Minister Caroline Proulx indicated that she had been working for a few months on an amendment to the Tourist Accommodation Act which would notably impose fines not only on the platform, but on the landlord in the event of violations.
Earlier Tuesday, QS accused the CAQ government and those before it of dragging their feet in cracking down on illegal short-term tourist accommodations that are advertised on platforms like Airbnb.
Mr. Nadeau-Dubois mentioned that his political formation had proposed a bill in 2017 aimed at making online rental intermediaries accountable for the content they post under penalty, but that it was ignored by the Liberals then in power.
“There has been unacceptable laxity by the CAQ government and previous governments. Everyone saw the current “Wild West” coming. All the experts were saying it, the people on the ground were saying it, ”said Mr. Nadeau-Dubois, Tuesday morning in a press scrum.
“The governments have abdicated in the face of the multinational and it gives us a mess today where 93% of the ads in Montreal are illegal,” he continued.
A “first major reform” of the Tourist Accommodation Act was adopted in 2021, Minister Proulx said in the House on Tuesday.
“It’s a law that’s evolving, that’s changing. As of December, we had these intentions [to make additional regulatory changes]. We will be making the appropriate filings over the next few weeks and months,” she said.
Like QS, the interim leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, Marc Tanguay, says he is ready to support the minister’s possible bill.
If he believes the government has failed in its responsibility to conduct necessary safety inspections, Mr. Tanguay believes that Airbnb must also be an “exemplary corporate citizen”, which is not the case, according to Mr. Tanguay. him.
“He should ensure that no rental unit is rented without the person having local permission. It is a responsibility of the corporation, “he said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
Ms. Proulx reiterated that municipalities also have their share of responsibility as they have the power to prohibit short-term accommodation on their territory.
The Place d’Youville building ravaged by a fire last Thursday, and which would have several apartments used for short-term tourist rentals, is located in an area of the metropolis prohibiting this type of rental.
The Mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, deplored that the Cities have limited means to crack down on delinquent landlords and must accept a formal complaint in order to be able to investigate.