Quebec tightens rules on Airbnb

The province introduced stricter rules Wednesday for operators of online housing-rental businesses like Airbnb.

While Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx says the industry is here to stay, there will be new rules kicking in this fall aimed at adapting the province's laws to the reality of Airbnb.

The new rules state that anyone renting their place out as an Airbnb unit for less than a 31-day period will have to register with the government, and use the registration number in all listings. Proulx says the application can be done online, and would take about 10 minutes.

Condo owners will have to get approval from their condo associations, and people who want to rent out their apartments will need their landlord's approval.

The collected information would give the revenue department, for instance, a better idea of where the listings and owners are.

The idea behind the rules is to keep a check on building owners, or companies, who rent out multiple units in their buildings.

If anyone rents out their place as an Airbnb unit without registering with the government, they'll be subject to fines. "We'll find them and we'll fine them," Proulx says.

The fines, she says, could run anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000.

Proulx, who held a news conference Wednesday alongside Municipal Affairs Minister Nathalie Laforest, added there's nothing in the new rules that prevents cities and towns from establishing their own rules on Airbnb.

Meanwhile, the social-housing lobby group called Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ) says the rules are a step forward, but don't go nearly far enough in dissuading homeowners from keeping their properties available for rent, and keeping them unavailable for those looking for apartments — particularly as some parts of the province are in the midst of a housing crisis.