Nova Scotia

Condo board fights short-term rentals at Dartmouth tower

Condo owners at The Anchorage in Dartmouth are locked in a dispute with a prominent developer over short-term rentals in his Kings Wharf development.

Developer Francis Fares offers short-term rentals on Airbnb

Owners of condo units at The Anchorage, one of four developments built by Fares and Co. Development Inc. known as Kings Wharf in Dartmouth, N.S., are locked in a dispute with developer Francis Fares over short-term rentals. (Robert Short/CBC)

Condo owners at The Anchorage in Dartmouth, N.S., are locked in a dispute with a prominent developer over short-term rentals at his Kings Wharf development. 

The debate with Francis Fares over listings on sites such as Airbnb is now subject to confidential arbitration.

The Anchorage is an 88-unit building, one of four condominiums built by Fares and Co. Development Inc., on a tract of Dartmouth waterfront known as Kings Wharf.

Minutes of the condominium corporation's board meetings obtained by CBC news show the elected board looking for ways to stop the flow of tourists and others staying in units rented for a few days at a time.

In August 2018, the board committed to act "in order to protect the status and value of owners' units, and to prevent the building from acquiring a reputation as a 'condo hotel' as has happened elsewhere," the minutes said. 

"We are consulting with our lawyer to establish the level of proof required in order to take action against owners who do not comply," the minutes said. 

Developer owns 35 units

According to Nova Scotia's online property records, Fares, The Anchorage's developer, owns 35 units in the building under corporate names. 

Fares would not confirm this figure to CBC. 

Board minutes from August 2018 indicate there were 14 units at The Anchorage listed with airbnb.ca. 

"The majority are being offered by the developer, but several owners are also listing their units on Airbnb," the minutes said. 

Units at the Anchorage owned by developer Francis Fares are offered as short-term and long-term rentals online. (Robert Short/CBC)

A recent online search showed Fares and Co. Development Inc. listing 13 short-term rental units on the travel website Trip Advisor. 

There were 17 listings on Airbnb, some of which appeared to be duplicates of the Trip Advisor listings. 

Many of Fares's units are also available for long-term rental on his website, kingswharf.ca. 

Notices posted

"Notices have been placed at the building entrances and in the elevators reminding people of the rules regarding short-term rentals," board minutes from April 2019 stated.

"It is hoped that by making visitors aware of the fact that these rentals are not allowed they will respond by noting this in the comments section of the rental website," the minutes said. 

Board minutes from May 2019 raised concerns over a home-care business operating in The Anchorage. 

The minutes say Fares "confirmed that the tenant was renting two of his units and wished to rent a third to expand the operation. He said this had been going on for 3 years and that he had never heard of any problems."

The minutes say Fares "claimed that he was being personally targeted by Board members."

Francis Fares is the Kings Wharf developer. (CBC)

The May 2019 minutes described an "acrimonious and lengthy exchange on the issue of running businesses and short term rentals," among board members. 

Through a spokesperson, Fares declined to speak to the contents of the minutes, saying they are confidential. 

Disputes can be sent to arbitration

Under Nova Scotia's Condominium Act, disputes can be sent to arbitration by request of an individual unit owner, or the board as a whole.  

"We have no comment, as the subject of arbitration is a confidential process," Laurie Coring, the marketing director for Fares and Co. Development Inc. wrote in an email. 

Both Coring and Fares declined to comment on the issue of short-term rentals at the Anchorage. Nor would they address the contents of the board minutes. 

"The Board Meeting Minutes are not public record. They are records of the Corporation," Coring wrote. 

"Should this information be published, and impact the confidential arbitration process in any way, we will take further legal action," she wrote. 

CBC News reached out to board members at The Anchorage, who either didn't reply or declined comment. 

About the Author

Jack Julian

Reporter

Jack Julian joined CBC Nova Scotia as an arts reporter in 1997. His news career began on the morning of Sept. 3, 1998 following the crash of Swissair 111. He is now a data journalist in Halifax, and you can reach him at (902) 456-9180, by email at jack.julian@cbc.ca or follow him on Twitter @jackjulian

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