Strategies to Combat Short-Term Rentals

November 2016

Condo corporations which prohibit short-term rentals and find residents or owners failing to comply have some options.

One approach is to monitor Airbnb and similar sites to identify suites in your building being advertised as available for short-term rental. Companies such as Sublet Spy and LeaseAbuse provide more extensive monitoring services to condo corporations.

Employees can be required to inform management of condo infractions, including short-term rental, and that failure to inform is grounds for termination.

Regardless of what methods are used to restrict short-term rentals, there must be active enforcement.

Rules without enforcement are ineffective.

One group of condo owners recently took back control of their building from a condo board that was allowing their building to be run like a hotel. Directors of the building, at Wellington Street West and John St., did not enforce short-term rental restrictions in the building. What ensued was a two-year battle that resulted in replacing four of five directors.

During a five year period two companies were leasing condo suites from owners and offering short-term rentals in violation of condo rules. The companies were providing copies of leases to condo management that stated they were for short-term leases. The companies claim to never have been informed of short-term lease restrictions.

When directors attempted to enforce short-term rental restrictions they were replaced by non-residents – in this case only one director position was reserved for an owner-occupier.

Suite owners had complained about short-term guests treating the condo building like a hotel. One owner reported guests mistakenly entering their suite and demanding that she and two children leave. Others complained of loud parties and drunken guests. Guests were throwing beer bottles and cigarette butts, and vomiting from balconies. One resident reports having to clean balcony siding from vomit dripping down from above.

One company involved in the short-term rentals was actively attempting to influence the condo election by asking owners to vote for candidates supporting short-term rentals. One of the former directors was listed on a website as contact for another condo leasing company.

A new condo board now appears intent on enforcing their rules on short-term rentals. The two companies actively offering short-term rentals in the building will be leaving the building.


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