Facing a lawsuit in Montreal, advice/info sought

in
Montreal, Canada
Level 2
222 Views

Hello hosts, I've received notification that Revenue Quebec is taking me to court for operating a tourist accommodation without a license. The minimum fine is $3750. Apparently they looked online and saw that on specific dates in May my home was listed on Air BnB, the agent plugged in dates for three nights and saw that she could have booked it. The thing is that when I listed my home the city told me I needn't get a license because, at the time, such wasn't required if I was listing my residence, which I was. Since then the law has changed, but when I checked Air BnB's info they are still advising Montrealers that if you're renting your residency you don't need a license from the province.

 

I've since changed my listing to 31 day minimum, which means it's not considered "short term" and so is outside the restrictions from the province.

 

I'm wondering if anyone out there has had a similar experience and how they resolved it. The minimum fine of $3750 is beyond my capabilities these days but going to court to fight this could cost more if I lose. I'm curious if anyone has gone that route and what they learned. 

 

Thanks in advance for your help!

Shelagh14

7 Replies

Re: Facing a lawsuit in Montreal, advice/info sought

in
Montreal, Canada
Level 2

@Shelagh14We are having the same lawsuit.

I called AirbNb... waiting for support.

My lawyer is on it... we can maybe create a group and share lawyer expenses?

Re: Facing a lawsuit in Montreal, advice/info sought

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Manuel312  You won't get support from Airbnb. It is up to hosts to keep informed of local regulations, not rely on possibly out-dated information on the Airbnb site. 

Re: Facing a lawsuit in Montreal, advice/info sought

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@Shelagh14  You might not need to go to court, have you contacted anyone at the agency that gave you the fine?   You could argue that you believed you were grandfathered in from the previous regulations and say that you have pulled the listing for STR, they might waive the fine.  Or if they won't then I don't see you have much choice to hire a lawyer, which presumably would still cost a lot less than almost $4K.

 

As @Sarah977 said, Airbnb will do nothing for you.

Re: Facing a lawsuit in Montreal, advice/info sought

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@Shelagh14  You might also look around for any forums, either through Airbnb or Facebook for Montreal hosts that could put you in touch with others who have similar issues and possibly lawyer(s) who are familiar with these kinds of cases. 

Re: Facing a lawsuit in Montreal, advice/info sought

in
Montreal, Canada
Level 2

@Manuel312 , @Sarah977 , @Mark116 Thanks for your responses! I consulted a lawyer who spoke with Rev. QC's lawyer and tried to get them to reason but they wouldn't budge. In the end it seemed that paying the fine was likely the most cost effective solution so that's what I'll be doing once the court date is set. I'm interested in following how others approach this though so I'll continue monitoring posts on the issue. 

Re: Facing a lawsuit in Montreal, advice/info sought

in
Montreal, Canada
Level 2

@Shelagh14thanks for the reply.

I'll go to court so if you are interested please contact me in private. we should be able to secure a deal with a lawyer.

I don't think letting go is a good option. I think is paving the way to have an autocratic government continue doing whatever they want. BTW I just received 7 days ago a message from ABB about CTITC... I'm asking them to foot part of the bill..

Re: Facing a lawsuit in Montreal, advice/info sought

in
Montreal, Canada
Level 2

I am in a similar situation, and finally have got the insurance in order, which is not easy to find a coverage of 2 million dollars. I already called Airbnb a long time ago and they just point to us to abide by local laws. I left the country for a few months and the phone did not work abroad, and someone at the CITQ wanted to get to me, so we finally opened an email conversation and hope to get the license in order.

Brilliant move the update on 31 days or more...

 

I will wait to get the inspector from the CITQ.

 

@Shelagh14and everyone in the same situation, you are not alone! Let's make sure we support each other.

 

There are many things we can learn: what companies provide insurances for $2M and in what terms, if we need insurance by the owner, the lease (in my case I am not the owner) stating short-term rental is allowed, what option to choose while registering at the CITQ webform... and support each other on changing the very restrictive laws in Montreal to grow a business which is good for the city!

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