North Vancouver takes Airbnb hostel battle to court

The City of North Vancouver is asking the courts to step in and demand that a local woman stop using her three-bedroom townhouse as an Airbnb hostel.

City files petition asking B.C. Supreme Court to order Emily Yu to stop using her townhouse as a hostel

North Vancouver townhouse owner Emily Yu has been told by the city to stop using her home as a hostel. (CBC/Jason Proctor)

The City of North Vancouver is asking the courts to step in and demand that a local woman stop using her three-bedroom townhouse as an Airbnb hostel.

Emily Yu's strata and the city have told her repeatedly to stop renting out 15 beds in her unit for short-term accommodation, and B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal has upheld nearly $7,000 in strata bylaw fines against her.

But Yu remains defiant, according to a petition filed by the city Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court.

"The use of the townhouse as a hostel disturbs the neighbours. The noise, traffic and transience of the hostel guests is inconsistent with the residential nature of the neighbourhood containing the townhouse," the petition reads.

"The city has demanded that the respondent cease the hostel use of the townhouse, but the respondent has not complied."

The city is asking the court to order Yu to stop using the townhouse as a hostel, and to immediately bar her from advertising the unit for short-term accommodations.

In an Airbnb posting, a pair of dogs awaited visitors to Emily Yu's townhouse. (Airbnb)

The petition also asks for declarations that Yu is contravening zoning bylaws by operating her home as a hostel, and defying fire bylaws by failing to keep halls and exits free of obstruction.

When contacted by CBC on Thursday, Yu said she had not been served with the city's petition, and would reserve any comment until she had the court document.

None of the allegations in the petition have been proven in court.

Yu's townhouse, advertised online as the Oasis Hotel, has beds placed in the bedrooms, halls and landings, blocking access to exits, the petition alleges.

The hostel operation is the subject of another ongoing court battle — Yu's strata has asked a B.C. Supreme Court to enforce the payment of her fines. Even Airbnb has suspended Yu's status as a host.

But last month, Yu told CBC that she had no plans to comply with the rules.

"I'm going to continue to fight for my rights. This is my home. I have a right to enjoy my property. My strata they can say whatever they want, but they don't have a right to [take away] my civil right of enjoying my property," Yu said.

After the Civil Resolution Tribunal upheld the strata's fines against her, Yu filed her own petition in B.C. Supreme Court, claiming she had "been threatened, targeted and her privacy ... invaded by many of the strata members."

A judge dismissed that petition.

With files from Jason Proctor