British Columbia

Victoria woman surprised to find own condo listed on Airbnb

A Victoria woman has a cautionary tale for other landlords after discovering her own condo was being offered as a vacation rental on Airbnb.

Alix Causer-McBurney's condo was rented half a dozen times before Airbnb listing was discovered

Alix Causer-McBurney in her condo that became an Airbnb rental without her knowledge. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

A Victoria woman has a cautionary tale for other landlords after discovering her own condo was being offered as a vacation rental on Airbnb.

Alix Causer-McBurney decided to rent out her suite because she was going to be working out of town for a significant period of time. She found a tenant who signed on for a six-month lease.

Everything seemed fine, Causer-McBurney said, until her brother sent her a listing from the vacation rental site Airbnb.

She was shocked when she saw pictures of her own suite.

A woman in Victoria was surprised to discover the condo she had rented to a tenant listed on Airbnb. (Airbnb)

"It was my condo. I looked it up on Airbnb and that was my place. It was extremely uncomfortable to read about it," she said.

From the Airbnb reviews, and information from neighbours, Causer-McBurney said she could tell about a half a dozen people had stayed at her place before she discovered the listing.

Causer-McBurney's tenant admitted the condo had been listed on Airbnb, took the listing down, and agreed to leave.

The lease was set up using standard provincial tenancy forms that indicate sublets are not allowed without permission from the owner.

Landlords beware

Despite long-standing language on tenant sublets, the growing popularity of short-term rentals through Airbnb has been a concern for landlords around the province, said David Hutniak with Landlord B.C.

He said Landlord B.C. now provides members with enhanced tenancy forms that make it clear listing a suite as a vacation rental is not allowed without permission.

But landlords are still encouraged to check listings from time to time to make sure they do not inadvertently become a short-term vacation rental, he said.

"Part of the education that we have done is to encourage landlords to monitor Airbnb and Craigslist and other listing services to see if their suites and/or buildings are showing up in there," he said.

In a statement, Airbnb said it encourages hosts and potential hosts to check with their landlords and condo boards to get permission before renting a home through the service.

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