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HomeCanadaIllegal listings persist on Airbnb despite new regulations in Quebec | Breaking:

Illegal listings persist on Airbnb despite new regulations in Quebec | Breaking:


Quebec promised in June to tighten the screws on short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, but the number of illegal listings on the site continues to rise, and some hosts are getting increasingly creative in their ways of circumventing the law.

After a deadly fire in March at an Old Montreal heritage building that killed seven people, including six staying on Airbnbs, Airbnb said it would remove listings in Quebec that do not have a permit from the provincial government.

While listings without a license number were no longer showing availability, and about half of the listings in Montreal were removed from the site, several hosts began entering fake registration numbers to get around the restrictions, according to data from monitoring site Inside Airbnb.

In June, Quebec passed a new law, many of which will take effect in September, that will force Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms to crack down on unauthorized listings or face hefty fines.

Still, Radio-Canada found that Airbnb continues to be inundated with illegal listings.

Many hosts continue to use fake registration numbers, such as 0, 12345, or even 1111111111. As of Tuesday, there were still around 50 listings using the license number 12345 in Montreal. In March, there were 29 ads in the city using 123456.

Some hosts are also using their own phone numbers, encouraging people to write directly for shorter stays or reusing valid license numbers for multiple properties.

Quebec, Airbnb transfer responsibility to each other

Under new Quebec law, platforms like Airbnb will be responsible for ensuring that accommodations displayed on their site comply with the law or risk fines of up to $100,000 per illegal listing.

While Airbnb says it’s okay with the changes made to provincial regulations (although the requirement for platforms to check the validity of registration numbers isn’t yet in effect), a company spokesperson says Quebec hasn’t told it. provided the tools to comply. with the law

Airbnb says it is impossible for the company to verify whether the government-issued PDF registration certificate presented by the host has been forged or altered. The company says it can only see if the number the host displays on the Airbnb site matches the one in the PDF document.

Therefore, the company says that Quebec should provide it with a regular database of valid registration numbers, or access this data through an API (application programming interface).

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Meanwhile, the Quebec Ministry of Tourism argues that Airbnb can guarantee the authenticity of the registration number, as the company will apply a digital seal to the PDF document. Infrastructure of clés publices gouvernementale (ICPG), the certification service of the Quebec government.

An electronic verification system using an API as well as a verification portal will be launched shortly, the ministry says.

In the meantime, Airbnb will need to use the PDF certificate of registration for verification purposes.

Tourism Minister says Airbnb will have the tools it needs

According to an Airbnb spokesperson, it is already possible for the Quebec government to verify and remove non-compliant listings with just a few clicks using the company’s website. City portal.

This site allows governmental or municipal authorities to classify the different advertisements and automatically remove those that do not comply with the rules. Using the portal would allow Quebec to retain control of its data, the spokesperson said.

However, Quebec’s Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx said Tuesday that Airbnb is trying to absolve itself of its obligations.

“It’s like you’re the owner of a bar and you say, ‘Well, it’s not up to me to check that the customer is 18 when they enter the bar, it’s the responsibility of the police,'” he said.

“Airbnb should focus on making their system fit, instead of repeating ad nauseam that they can’t do it. I hope they will obey the law like any good corporate citizen. They will have all the tools at hand to do so.”

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