Airbnb problem getting worse in Plateau, downtown: tenants rights groups

Tenants rights groups in the Plateau Mont-Royal and downtown Ville-Marie boroughs say the Airbnb problem is getting worse and they're renewing their call for a total ban.

The Comité du logement du Plateau Mont-Royal and the Comité logement Ville-Marie said at a joint news conference that the second study they've conducted suggests the Plateau alone saw a nearly 20% increase in Airbnb rentals between March 2017 and March 2018 and almost 30% in Ville-Marie. 

The groups say the Plateau alone lost over 2000 rental apartments during that time to the online homesharing platform - about 5% of the total units available in the borough.

Airbnb rentals in the Plateau and Ville-Marie make up 60% of all such rentals in Montreal.

The groups say the rise in Airbnb rentals has resulted in many tenants being evicted to make way for entire building conversions, which they claim make up nearly 80% of ads for locations in the two boroughs.

They also say it's resulted in a decrease in quality of life for neighbouring tenants who have to deal with an increase in noise, garbage and the number of tourists coming and going.

The groups say recent zoning restrictions are not working and they want Revenue Quebec to crack down with fines for people renting out their homes without proper certification, claiming not one fine has been issued since legislation was introduced last June giving the revenue department more powers.

Fines can go up to $25,000 for individuals and up to $50,000 for companies.

Revenue Quebec has said that so far, it's conducted inspections and issued warnings, to spread more awareness and give people time to conform to the law.