British Columbia

Yaletown condo strata files class-action lawsuit against Airbnb

The suit alleges that unauthorized Airbnb rentals have increased maintenance and administrative costs, decreased property value, and caused damage to common purpose areas like swimming pools, saunas, lobbies, and gardens.

Suit alleges the site has profited from unauthorized rentals without the consent of owners

Despite clear signage and strict rules many Airbnb hosts offer up suites in buildings. (Karen Burgess/CBC)

A downtown Vancouver strata corporation is seeking to file a class-action lawsuit again Airbnb, alleging the site has rented out properties throughout B.C. and Canada without the consent of the rightful owners.

It also alleges the site has profited from unauthorized rentals without any compensation to those owners.

According to legal documents, the suit is seeking a court order to be certified as a class-action proceeding.

It defines the class as "all persons, including strata corporations in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada, whose real property has been rented through Airbnb Websites without their consent."

It's also seeking an injunction that would require Airbnb to cease advertising rentals properties located in Canada without the consent of the owners, including the strata corporations — a practice alleged by condo owners and several property managers in some of the record number of complaints filed to the city this summer in Vancouver.

The suit alleges that unauthorized Airbnb rentals have increased maintenance and administrative costs, decreased property value, and caused damage to common purpose areas like swimming pools, saunas, lobbies, and gardens. 

A spokesperson from Airbnb said that the company is reviewing the lawsuit, but will not comment on ongoing litigation. 

The allegations in these court documents have yet to be proven in court.

A slide by the City of Vancouver, presented in council, shows where short-term rental units are located throughout the municipality. (City of Vancouver)

Vancouver Airbnb rules currently under debate

Vancouver currently has no regulations for short-term rentals, but rentals for less than 30 days are illegal without a hotel or bed and breakfast licence. 

Last week the city held a public hearing for Vancouverites to give their opinions on short-term rentals legislation announced during the summer.

Under the proposal, homeowners and renters would only be allowed to list their primary residences on sites like Airbnb for a licensing fee of $49 each year, plus a one-time application fee of $54.

Vancouver residents would not be permitted to apply for licences to list secondary suites such as basement apartments, laneway homes, or second homes.

In April, the city said there were around 6,000 online units currently in operation.

It estimated that while 70 per cent of short-term listings in the city would still be allowed under the new rules, about 1,000 listings would be taken off the market.

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