The city of Montreal is taking a more aggressive approach in tackling the problem of illegal and unregistered Airbnb rentals. In fact, they are aiming to ‘cut them off’, by having city workers saw off what are known as ‘lock boxes’. The solid little boxes hold keys for the Airbnb unit that is bring rented out and can be attached outside to poles and stands, just like a bicycle lock. Landlords or home owners give their short-term tenants the code to open them and retrieve the keys – and they do not even have to be around to let them into the rental, offering themselves anonymity.
In an effort to thwart the unauthorized rentals, Montreal blue collar workers have been given the mandate to cut off any lock boxes they find attached to city property – such as bicycle stands, poles and fencing in order to crack down on illegal short term rentals. Those found in designated tourist areas will be allowed to remain.
Airbnb, first created quite the buzz when it arrived here. It offered home owners a way to earn a little extra income to help pay the bills – but the buzz quickly turned into voices of discontent. Some home owners and property management companies soon began taking advantage of the program, side-stepping the rules put in place, having multiple listings and not registering with the province for their permits. It began cutting into available housing rentals for Montrealers, as well as driving up rent.
Residents in the area also found their neighbourhoods being invaded with garbage left on the streets and broken bottles on the sidewalks, as well as having to live with the noise from parties lasting all night long. The value of their properties were being affected and more importantly their security was being threatened. The city did step in by adding more inspectors – and just last summer they took steps to reduce the number of tourist rental properties downtown, restricting these type of short-term rentals to buildings along Ste-Catherine Street, between Guy and Amherst and not allowing them within 150 metres of each other. Mayor Valerie Plante and her administration continue to monitor the situation of all rentals associated with online services such as Airbnb.