Online home rental sites such as Airbnb might make tourists happy ... But they've also left business owners and government officials seething. Not only are users of these websites circumventing the taxman, but they're stirring debate about traditional business and what's known as the 'share economy.'
In the last year alone, Alan Ganev
has hosted dozens of people at his airy loft in Montreal
. Visitors found his place through an online home rental service called Airbnb
. The going rate for a night in Alan Ganev's apartment is $40. That won't get you turn-down service or a mint on your pillow. But it can get you some pretty good company. Rob Ross - Co-owner, La Loggia Art Bed and Breakfast
This week, Tourism Quebec
made it clear where it's coming from on this issue. Quebec -- along with PEI, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador -- requires bed and breakfasts to have permits. And now it is enforcing that rule, sending inspectors online to sniff out black market inns. Quebec's registered bed and breakfast owners have applauded that move.
We asked for an interview with an Airbnb spokesperson. The company turned us down, but directed us to its host guidelines, which instruct Airbnb hosts to make sure they understand and follow the laws where they live.Arun Sundararajan - Professor at New York University.
Airbnb isn't the only example of a business based on networks of people who share, sell, rent or barter directly with each other. We spoke to Arun Sundararajan
who says that ultimately, the rise of so-called sharing economies is a good thing.
This segment was produced by The Current's
Vanessa Greco and Virginia Smart.
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