Toronto landlord found apartment on AirBnb from

Nabil Anas
Nabil Anas

Global Courant 2023-05-08 13:03:09

A Toronto apartment owner is demanding changes to the way the city of Toronto allocates short-term rental permits after learning that someone other than her approved tenant could get one for her apartment.

Allison Rasquinha, a real estate agent, says the license was used to rent her downtown studio on Adelaide Street West to multiple guests on Airbnb.com over a period of several months without her knowledge or consent and in violation of the law. rules of her apartment corporation.

After Rasquinha began eviction proceedings for violating the lease terms, the tenant offered to leave within a week, but only in exchange for thousands of dollars in damages. CBC does not name the tenants.

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“She’s in my flat like a business, not a home,” Rasquinha said. “You feel very violated.”

Gaps in short-term rental regulations: landlord

Rasquinha, now facing legal fees and fighting to regain control of her apartment, says the situation highlights gaps in how city hall regulates short-term rentals.

“The city needs to take some responsibility and take action to protect condo owners,” Rasquinha said.

“They need to do something to at least make sure that the Airbnbs they regulate are actually authorized and allowed to operate.”

Rasquinha says the apartment she bought in 2019 was her primary residence, but she decided to rent it out last year because she was getting married and moving in with her husband. Through the Realtor.ca website, she found a BC woman who said she was interested in renting the unit.

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The woman provided a rental application, ID, a credit check report, other documents and personal references.

“She was like, ‘I’m a landlord, I know what it’s like… I take very good care of the properties I’m in,'” Rasquinha said. “So that gave me a lot of comfort.”

The two signed a one-year lease effective July 1, 2022, according to documents reviewed by CBC Toronto.

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The unit was registered for short-term rental that same month, according to the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Department.

A screenshot of the Airbnb listing for Rasquinha’s downtown Adelaide Street West studio apartment. (Submitted by Allison Rasquinha)

Property manager has contacted the landlord

Rasquinha says she may never have found out about the situation, except that she received an incident report from her building’s security team on Feb. 28.

“I have just received an incident report from security regarding someone seeking (unit number redacted) for an Air BnB,” the property manager of the building wrote to Rasquinha in an email that day.

“I thought you should know because short-term rentals are not allowed, neither is subletting, and you may not even be aware that your tenant appears to be renting out your unit.”

When Rasquina asked the tenant about the incident via email, the tenant replied, “(I’m) not too sure what that would be about.” She suggested it could have been a mix-up with a neighboring unit.

Rasquinha later found an ad for her unit on Airbnb.com hosted by a person who was not her tenant and whom she did not know. CBC Toronto reviewed screenshots of the list made in March, which included 30 user reviews.

“It was like the bottom fell out of my stomach,” Rasquinha said.

No longer hosting with Airbnb, company says

She learned the name of the person who held the license through a freedom of information request filed with the City of Toronto. Rasquinha said that after she contacted the host on Airbnb and contacted Airbnb itself, the ad came down. But she said it reappeared four times with a new title.

Airbnb said in a statement that the ad was removed on April 16 after its customer service team contacted the landlord about ownership of the apartment. The statement noted that the city is responsible for processing and approving permits.

“The host is no longer hosting on the platform,” the statement said.

In phone and email conversations with CBC Toronto, Rasquinha’s tenant admitted to renting out the apartment on Airbnb. She claimed this happened infrequently and only when she was out of town.

The tenant said her boyfriend, who lived in the unit with her, registered it with the city and posted it online.

The tenant said she was under no obligation to inform her landlord that her boyfriend had moved in with her, citing the Landlord and Tenant Board’s (LTB) website, which states: “a person may be a resident or a roommate in a rental unit living with or without the landlord’s permission, provided that the tenant also lives in the rental unit.”

The tenant said she was unaware that short-term rentals violated the condo corporation’s rules because, although the rules were referenced in the lease, Rasquinha had not given her a copy.

Photo ID main requirement for city approval

To list a rental property on Airbnb in Toronto, hosts must register with the city and include their registration number on their listing, unless it is a hotel or motel.

According to the city, renters can get a short-term rental registration number for the unit they’re renting if they pay a $50 registration fee and can prove it’s their “principal residence” using an Ontario driver’s license or an Ontario photo card. The city said some applications are automatically approved, while others require additional assessment or a property inspection.

While the city acknowledged that some condo corporations have bylaws that prevent short-term rentals, it said it’s the responsibility of property managers to notify the city of those rules, and it’s the responsibility of the owner or tenant to follow them. to follow.

“Tenants should be aware of their responsibilities under the Housing Rental Act and their tenancy agreement with the landlord,” the municipality said in a statement. “The city’s short-term rental team cannot get involved in issues/disputes with landlords as this falls within the purview of the landlord and tenant board.”

As for Rasquinha’s unit, the city said it received a complaint from the landlord in March 2023 and learned from its investigation that the condo company has bylaws prohibiting short-term rentals.

The city said it is working to withdraw short-term rent registration for the unit.

Cash for keys deals are common due to LTB delays, paralegal says

Rasquniha initiated eviction proceedings in March, according to documents filed with the LTB.

According to emails dated March 23 between Rasquinha and the tenant assessed by CBC Toronto, the tenant proposed she could leave by the end of the month in exchange for the return of her rent security deposit from last month, in addition to $6,000 in compensation for the short-term.

“I would require an allowance to cover the cost of acquiring temporary accommodation and my relocation expenses,” the email read. “I would like my security deposit from last month back, 2 months rent as compensation, plus $1,000 for moving and storage.”

Paralegal Liam Imlach-Walker says “cash for keys” situations, where landlords pay their tenants to vacate a rental unit instead of waiting months for a hearing before the overdue Landlord and Tenant Board, are becoming more common. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

Liam Imlach-Walker, a paralegal at Sturino Walker Legal Services who represents Rasquinha, said “cash for keys” deals, in which landlords pay a tenant to move out rather than wait months for a LTB hearing, are more common as due to a backlog of cases.

“All landlords know that the quickest way for them to get the tenant out is to pay for the keys in cash, which means they pay X money and they usually leave within 30 to 60 days,” he said.

Toronto landlord found apartment on AirBnb from

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