Just two days after Airbnb said it pulled unauthorized Quebec listings from its platform, it seems some hosts are already skirting the rules.
A search on Airbnb’s website revealed some hosts may be falsifying their six-digit CITQ number, which proves their lodging is authorized with Quebec’s tourism ministry.
Global News found some listings with a 123456 license number. In another instance, two separate listings with different hosts shared the same registration number.
“We’ve seen that the same registration number is used many times — whether it’s a completely bogus registration number or it’s a number that doesn’t belong to the user,” said Cédric Dussault, spokesperson for the Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ), a Montreal tenants’ rights’ group.
“Sometimes we also see some users that have a valid registration number for one location, but are using it for various locations.”
Until recently, the housing marketplace didn’t require users in Quebec to add their registration number to a listing, resulting in many illegal Airbnbs.
Last week Quebec Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx met with Airbnb officials in response to renewed calls to clamp down on illegal tourist accommodations — after a deadly fire in Old Montreal killed seven people, many of whom were tourists who rented units off the platform.
Days after the meeting, the housing marketplace announced they would pull listings that didn’t have a registration number.
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“What Airbnb is doing in fact, it’s not real intention to respect the regulation. It’s really basically a PR operation,” said Dussault.
In a statement to Global News, Airbnb said, “the province issues the CITQ number directly to hosts, not Airbnb. As such, it’s the province’s responsibility to enforce their legislation.”
At the National Assembly Thursday, parties of all stripes agreed that the government needs to do more.
“The government of Quebec need to verify these license numbers and making sure if people don’t have the right to offer such services,” said Marc Tanguay, interim Quebec Liberal leader. “And to impose and amend as well.”
Parti Québécois MNA Joël Arseneau agreed and added that the “easy part” was meeting with Airbnb officials, but the hard part is reinforcing the law.
“You need to have the resources to make sure that people respect the law,” he said.
Quebec’s tourism minister said she is planning to introduce a bill to crack down on illegal short term rentals. Her spokesperson told Global News that fake registration numbers are a problem that will be addressed in the new legislation.
Fire survivor, housing groups calling for more action against illegal short-term rentals
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