Montreal is now cutting lockboxes containing keys to illegal Airbnb units

CKTB News- Airbnb

The City of Montreal has decided to take a pair of metal-cutters to its fight with Airbnb.

It has been estimated that over 8,000 units in the inner boroughs of Ville-Marie and Le Plateau Mont-Royal alone are listed on the popular homesharing app.  However, most of them are operating outside the law: a bylaw passed by the borough last year limits units to designated "tourist areas".

To try and better enforce the rules surrounding the app, municipal workers have begun cutting the lockboxes containing keys to units on the service.  Such lockboxes are commonly used by landlords to give temporary tenants access to the keys to a unit they're renting without having to meet them in person.

Alex Norris, the Projet Montreal city councillor for the Plateau district of Jeanne-Mance, says that the city isn't trying to be mean-spirited, but has to enforce the regulations on the books.  

"Affordable housing units are being lost when people try to extract the maximum profit, by illegally converting residential units into hotel units," he said in an interview with CTV Montreal.

It is not immediately clear how many lockboxes have been cut so far as a part of the city's initiative.