Renting out your room to travellers carries risks, experts warn
Condo, tax rules may apply to people renting out spaces
Experts offered words of caution Wednesday about the intricacies of listing and renting personal accommodation on popular sharing sites such as airbnb.
While the experience of renting out a space might be positive, it may also contravene rules such as the ones laid out by condo boards or even the Canada Revenue Agency.
Sometimes, people may even be unaware of the rules they're breaking, Mark Weisleder, a Toronto real estate lawyer, told CBC News.
"If you're going to do this in a condo, you really need to get permission first and, from my experience, you're not going to get it," Weisleder said.
The concerns come amid a growing profile worldwide for sites like airbnb. On its website, airbnb.com says it offers more than 800,000 listings in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries.
The company, founded in 2008 and based in San Francisco, says it offers "unique travel experiences, at any price point" and can reach millions of potential customers.
Weisleder said that while renting out a space can help someone make a little money, it could also cost them.
"You're running a hotel business out of your place. Now as an income, are you declaring this to the Canada Revenue Agency?"
Many people don't check or think about what rules they might be contravening when they get involved with listing as part of the so-called sharing economy, he said.
'Most condos have rules'
"They don’t look at the problems that are associated," he said, adding that most condos in Ontario have rules, whether you rent or own, that say you can’t rent for less than six months at a time.
As well, residency tenancy law also says that, in addition to that, a tenant can't charge more than what they’re already paying their landlord in rent.
Still, for others, renting out a space has been a great experience.
"I meet people from France, from all over the world," Celeste Shirley, who lives in Toronto, told CBC.
Shirley said she ensures she is following the rules and says the experience is a positive one.
"It's worth it for me to have the B&B because I feel amazing when the people come."
But the experience isn't as pleasant for everyone. Recently, one Montreal landlord came forward saying she had no idea her tenant was renting out their space to visitors on airbnb.
Click on the video above to see a full report from the CBC's Victoria Ptashnick.