City of Montreal blaming AB&B after a deadly fire kills several persons in a building with illegal short term rentals.

City of Montreal blaming AB&B after a deadly fire kills several persons in a building with illegal short term rentals.

This sad event in which tenants and others unfortunately lost their lives, is being politicized, in all the wrong directions:


1) Having the city blaming AB&B for allowing non-licensed owners to rent via their platform, appears more like a political  tactic to "find  blame " for the province and city's own failure to police its own laws / bylaws.    


2) Since 2015, every vacation rental property NEEDS to hold a provincial issued license number from the CITQ (Quebec tourism corporation).  This license can ONLY be issued, if the city bylaws allow the particular property to be used as a vacation rental.  Which means the "thousands" of illegal rentals (non prime-residences) don't have a CITQ number, which carries fines as much as $7,000 per day of illegal operation. 


3) For about 2 years now (and  with the involvement of Revenu Quebec) its become a legal obligation to POST the CITQ number on every advertizement, website offer, platforms, etc., for short term rentals.  Failure carries big fines if not respected.  


4) At least 2 other well known platforms (where I advertize my (licensed) properties), require that a valid registration number be posted on their site.  


5) So while the city of Montreal, Revenue Québec and the CITQ now shift blame and claim how difficult it is  enforce their own laws and bylaws, one may wonder:  How hard can it be to note the absence of  a CTIQ license number on a web page?  All the information is there: Phone numbers, cities, photos, email addresses, etc., plus they can easily subpoenaed the platform to produce names, adresses, etc. of the client/owner.   Better yet, they can simply have a "ghost"  renter negotiate a rental and the authorities would have all the proof they ever need, right in hand...


6) But the real elephant in the room is simply that having a CITQ license number has nothing to do with any kind of physical inspection or level of security standard of a rental property, which might imply some kind of protection against disasters such as the recent Montreal fire.    Having a license or not, has NO bearing whatsoever on the security level of ANY short term rental property.   So the absence of a permit or CITQ number, seems to have nothing to do with this  fire.  And why is AB&B being finger pointed for an unfortunate fire, on the basis that it advertizies unlicensed properties.  Their are no connections between the two matters.  The fire might have happened just as well in a licensed property. 


While, it's rather questionable that AB&B  would allow unlicensed property owner to advertize on its platform (and thus facilitate the commission of infractions by the owners), the blame for this sad loss of lives, appears to lie squarely with the authorities, for  not enforcing their own laws and bylaws and making security inspections.   It seems that this whole "license/permit" system in Quebec, is being run for the sole benefit of Revenue Quebec, which is to ID the owners and to collect its taxes.    As usual... follow the money and everything may become self explanatory. 


For years, legitimate rental owners have been complaining that nothing is being done to enforce the law and to shutdown illegal and substandard outfits.   


 Thus this political hot potato is being passed around and quickly becoming a political circus, unfortunately.





2 Replies 2
Level 2
California, United States

I agree the illegal airbnb issue and building code/safety of a. very old building is being conflated by the Quebec govt. What confuses me is if every rental needs a 'provincial issued license number from the CITQ (Quebec tourism corporation)', how were these illegal listings allowed to persist? When I had an Airbnb listing in San Francisco, I had an up to date, legal license and had my listing frozen the day after I forgot to re-enter/re-confirm it one year!

Level 10
Placencia, Belize

Imagine driving a car (without a license) and getting into an accident where someone dies and the  authorities immediately blame the car dealership where the driver bought the car. The first one that should be held responsible is (shouldn't even be a mystery) - the driver!


Granted, blaming Airbnb leads to a juicier story and definitely a bigger umbrella to hide under.

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