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Massive party at Airbnb sparks short-term rental crackdown

The municipality of La Pêche, Que., has temporarily halted applications for new short-term rentals after a riverside Airbnb party drew a crowd of more than 500 people.

Saturday night party in La Pêche, Que., attracted more than 500 attendees, police say

Party at La Pêche Airbnb rental draws hundreds of people, police say

2 months ago
Duration 1:01
Nicolas Dupont, who owns the property, says the maximum number of visitors he allowed in the listing was six. Instead, police say hundreds of people showed up to the property in school buses and cars on Saturday night. 1:01

The municipality of La Pêche, Que., has temporarily halted applications for new short-term rentals after a riverside Airbnb party last weekend drew a crowd more than 50 times the province's indoor gathering limit.

MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais police say there were at least 500 people Saturday night on chemin Brown, near the Gatineau River and Mont Cascades golf course.

A spokesperson said police plan to issue many tickets to party attendees who arrived to the narrow dirt road in several school buses and cars. Police started getting calls around 10 p.m. that night.

Nobody was injured, but neighbours said they were scared. 

"I had intoxicated people who came to my property, to my door, and I had no choice but to go out and tell them they were not in the right place," Éric Labelle, who lives down the road, said in a French interview.

Nicolas Dupont owns the building on chemin Brown where the party happened. (Simon Lasalle/Radio-Canada)

Listing says 6 people maximum

Quebec's current gathering limits are 10 people inside and 20 people outside, and Airbnb host Nicolas Dupont told Radio-Canada his listing clearly says a maximum of six people were allowed in the building.

"We were clearly the victim of a premeditated sabotage," Dupont said in French, adding it's important for him to follow the community's rules.

The municipality of La Pêche didn't waste time in its response. On Monday evening, it introduced a 90-day ban on property owners seeking new permits to rent their properties on short-term sites like Airbnb.

"We should be very clear: there was non-compliance with our rules around short-term rentals, but above all it was criminal negligence on the part of the [party] organizers," Mayor Guillaume Lamoureux told Radio-Canada in French.

In 2019, the municipality voted to regulate short-term rentals, not ban them.

Guillaume Lamoureux, the mayor of La Pêche, says the 90-day ban on new short-term rental applications will give the municipality time to figure out a longer-term solution. (Simon Lasalle/Radio-Canada)

While the rules have generally worked, Lamoureux said the three-month window should give La Pêche council time to review the current regulations and make any changes.

"Do the rules have everything necessary for us to apply them in a diligent manner? And then, are we going to continue with what we adopted in 2019 — or are we no longer going to tolerate commercial operations of this type?"

In a statement, Airbnb said it was "appalled at the blatant disrespect" shown to both Dupont's home and the community itself. The renter has been barred from Airbnb's platform, the statement said.

As for Labelle, he said he wants short-term rentals banned in La Pêche outright.

"We're not a tourist area. We're a residential area."

With files from Radio-Canada

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