The Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ) notes that Airbnb's alleged removal of illegal listings is just a smoke screen. According to data published by the website Inside Airbnb last week, 58% of the units offered for rent in Montreal are not certified, and in Quebec City 28% of the rentals offered are not certified, contrary to what the law requires. In addition, many listings display a fake certification number, as Airbnb does not verify this.
The multinational executives' promise to the Minister of Tourism to remove illegal ads is therefore only a parry. Worse still, Airbnb sends a message to renters suggesting they opt for long-term rentals, i.e. more than 31 days.
As a result, in Montreal, the so-called long-term rentals went from 17% to 60% of the total number of ads in a few days, and in Quebec City from 18% to 30% of the total. However, this Airbnb manipulation is in fact a subterfuge that allows avoiding complying with the Tourist Accommodation Act.
Nor is the goal clearly to comply with the laws governing relations between tenants and landlords in the Civil Code of Quebec, which is mandatory for any residential rental of more than 31 days.
Clearly, Airbnb is encouraging fraudulent behavior to evade the law. Such manipulations have been observed in Toronto. According to Thorben Wieditz of the Fairbnb Canada coalition, "Airbnb is repeating in Quebec the same regulatory trick used in Toronto. After the city's short-term rental rules were enacted in 2021, Airbnb moved thousands of illegal listings to a minimum rental period of 28 days, pushing them out of the regulatory system. As a result, more than 12,000 listings on Airbnb's platform are escaping regulatory oversight in Toronto."
RCLALQ spokesperson Cédric Dussault called on the Minister of Tourism, Caroline Proulx: "The RCLALQ vehemently denounces these Airbnb manipulations and asks the Government of Quebec to intervene immediately to put an end to the illegal behavior of this multinational and the people who profit from it.”