Ville-Marie borough tightens rules on short-term home rentals, such as Airbnb

The borough voted Tuesday on a proposal to restrict short-term, vacation home rentals, secured through companies such as Airbnb, to buildings on Saint-Catherine Street between Amherst and Guy streets.

Ville-Marie restricts short-term rentals on Ste-Catherine St., between Amherst and Guy streets

Under the borough's new regulations, short-term rentals would not be allowed within 150 metres of each other within a limited area downtown. (John MacDougall/Getty Images)

Short-term home rentals will be harder to come by in downtown Montreal.

The Ville-Marie  borough council voted Tuesday evening in favour of new measures to "substantially reduce" the number of Airbnb-type rental properties allowed to operate in the city centre.

Under the new rules, the borough will restrict so-called tourism residences to buildings along Ste-Catherine Street, roughly between Guy and Amherst streets.

Within this limited area downtown, rentals will not be allowed within 150 metres of each other.

The changes aim to address many issues that have come up between permanent residents and vacation renters, the borough said.

Tuesday night's vote comes as the City of Montreal as a whole has been trying to grapple with an influx of Airbnb-type rentals, especially in parts of the city that are popular with tourists, such as downtown and the Plateau–Mont-Royal.

The City of Montreal has been looking for ways to curb an influx of short-term, Airbnb-type rentals across the downtown core.

Alex Dagg, a spokesperson for Airbnb, said the company wants to work with the borough to make sure any regulations "balance affordability concerns with the right of everyday people to share their homes."

"We encourage officials from the borough of Ville-Marie to give the province of Quebec the opportunity to update home sharing regulations, as currently proposed in the National Assembly, before voting in favour of additional, restrictive regulations," Dagg told CBC News in a statement Monday.

Quebec law requires permits

Quebec passed a law in late 2015 requiring people who rent out accommodations for no more than 31 consecutive days to have a permit and pay a hotel tax.

A year after the law took effect in 2016, however, data showed that a majority of Quebecers who list their properties on home rental websites such as Airbnb and Kijiji were not registered with the province.

In Montreal, the Plateau–Mont-Royal and Ville-Marie boroughs have the most listings, according to a McGill University report published last year.

That report found that two to three per cent of the housing stock in those neighbourhoods were run by property management companies offering short-term rentals.

Restrictions come too late for some

The restrictions in Ville-Marie are coming too late for some residents, however.

Paul Ostiguy used to live in the Tour des Canadiens, a condo building near the Bell Centre downtown.

Paul Ostiguy, a former resident of the Tour des Canadiens building downtown, said he sold his condo because of problems related to the many short-term, vacation rentals in the building. (Radio-Canada)

He said he sold his condo after growing increasingly frustrated by how many units were being rented to short-term guests.

Several of those guests, he said, would party and make noise until the early hours of the morning.

"I didn't see it getting any better, so I finally put it up for sale," Ostiguy told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

He said it even became difficult to sell his condo because of known problems with the short-term rentals.

"I never thought I'd sell it for a loss, but that's the simple reality," Ostiguy said.

With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak and Andrea Bellemare

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