The removal of all illegal listings from the Airbnb rental platform on Tuesday is likely to cause hundreds of apartments to return to the long-term rental market across Quebec, as the housing crisis is a source of concern in many cities.

At least that’s what happened in Toronto, Vancouver and other places where laws and regulations have been implemented to limit short-term rentals, says Josephine Fueser, a Toronto-based researcher with Fairbnb Canada. , which militates against such platforms because of their perverse effects on the housing market.

“Airbnb’s level of activity has a huge impact on the local rental market,” says Ms. Fueser.

In Toronto, a regulation was adopted in 2017 to bring this industry to heel, but the authorities have taken few steps to enforce it, according to the researcher. The effects have been felt since the pandemic: in January 2020, 15,020 listings for short-term accommodation were active daily on Airbnb, while there are 4,600 today, for accommodation holding almost all a permit, according to the Inside Airbnb site.

“Using image recognition techniques, we identified 3,476 Airbnb listings that were posted for long-term rentals on Craigslist or Kijiji platforms between March and December 2020,” says a study done for the City. of Toronto, published in February 2021 by a group of urban policy researchers from McGill University, led by Professor David Wachsmuth.

However, the study points out that 8,400 accommodations remained on the Airbnb platform, but for rentals of more than 28 days, which exempted them from the rules on short-term rentals.

In Vancouver, there were 6,000 apartments for short-term rentals on Airbnb in January 2018, shortly before the City required the platform to remove listings without a permit, which had an immediate effect. Today, 3,500 apartments are advertised for short-term rental.

Again, Professor Wachsmuth’s team managed to track down around 1,310 homes previously advertised for short-term rental which were now offered for long-term rental.

The same phenomenon should occur in Quebec, predicts Murray Cox, founder of the Inside Airbnb site, which presents data from the rental platform for many cities around the world.

“I know that in Montreal, there are many areas where it is forbidden to do short-term rentals, such as Old Montreal, the site of the fatal fire,” he said in an interview, from the New York State. “Then these people will fail to register” and will turn to the traditional rental market, he said.

In December 2022 in Montreal, there were 13,913 listings on Airbnb, of which 7,344 had been active in the past year, according to a compilation made by La Presse from the Inside Airbnb site. Of these 7,344 dwellings, 6,400 were not registered with the Corporation de l’industrie touristique du Québec (CITQ), or 88%, and were therefore illegal.

Elsewhere, Cox said, there has been no short-term listing transfer to other online rental platforms, such as Marketplace or Kijiji. But it is a possibility, which proves the importance for the Quebec government to move forward with the announced tightening of its law, even if Airbnb collaborates, he says.

It was impossible to know how many listings without an Airbnb registration number would remove in Quebec on Tuesday. A spokesperson, however, clarified that reservations already made before March 28 would be honored, even if they are accommodations whose advertisements will disappear.