A couple of wins with short-term rentals in Quebec

Montreal man to pay $62K in taxes after renting out properties on Airbnb
Apartment owner has right to change locks on tenant for Airbnb abuse

Montreal man to pay $62K in taxes after renting out properties on Airbnb

Dany Papineau, an Airbnb user, was slapped with a tax bill from Revenu Québec totalling more than $62,000.

CBC News
By Morgan Dunlop
22 March 2016

A Montreal man who has boasted about earning more than $200,000 from Airbnb says Revenu Québec is now charging him more than $60,000 in sales and hotel taxes.
Dany Papineau says renting out his place on the popular home-sharing services site helped turn his life around. He went from being $500,000 in debt for a failed movie-making attempt to netting more than $200,000 in three years.

He shares his story in an online video aimed at teaching others how to be successful with Airbnb. He even offers classes on the subject.

Papineau says he has all the permits needed to rent his four properties, some of them co-owned by relatives and his partner. He also says he pays tax on his personal income from Airbnb. But he admits he hasn't paid sales or hotel taxes.

He doesn't think he should have to.

"If I had made this money renting my place on Craigslist or Kijiji, I would be 100 per cent responsible for paying these taxes," he says. "It's Airbnb that collects all payment. It's Airbnb that sends the bill from Airbnb to the client."

Airbnb 'eager to work with policy makers'
On its website, Airbnb says occupancy taxes are included in the bill for certain cities, but leaves it up to users to check with their jurisdictions and add additional charges if they must.

"Hotel taxes are the host responsibility – we are working to play an intermediary role to make things easier," Airbnb said in a written statement to CBC.

Airbnb added that the company is working with cities around the world to help its users pay their hotel taxes. For instance, in San Francisco, Airbnb has been collecting and remitting the 14 per cent hotel tax since October 2014.

"Current tax law is complicated and was written for large-scale hotels, not regular people sharing their space for a couple days each month. We are eager to work with policy makers in Quebec to make it possible for our community [to] pay their fair share of tourism taxes,"Airbnb said.

Revenu Québec says its mandate is to enforce provincial tax law which assigns the accommodation provider responsibility to collect sales tax.

Papineau calls himself a pioneer and says though he's going to be paying his tax bill for now, but will be fighting it. He says the Quebec government is being short-sighted by going after individual Airbnb users.

"What's easier? To collect $10,000 from users one at a time? Or to just collect from one platform that will pay taxes for all the users?"

Revenu Québec says it has collected $7.2 million in taxes from Airbnb providers in 2014-2015.


Apartment owner has right to change locks on tenant for Airbnb abuse, Régie rules
CBC News
By Benjamin Shingler
07 August 2016

Quebec's rental board has ruled a Verdun landlord has the right to change the locks on a tenant to stop him from renting out his apartment every night, in a decision that could have consequences for other Airbnb users in the province.

In the July 26 ruling, the Régie du logement said the tenant, Quan Sheng Li, must stop renting out the apartment and continue to pay rent to the landlord.

The property is owned by Summit Property Management. Tristan Pungartnik, the company's director of operations, said the unit was being rented out constantly through the popular online vacation-home rental site.

"For example, in the month of August, it was booked every night except for two," Pungartnik told CBC Montreal's Daybreak, explaining that he tracked the rentals on Airbnb's website.

"I actually took my laptop in court and showed the judge."

The ruling specified that the property owner could change the locks because the tenant is living outside the country.

Quan Sheng Li will be allowed to regain access to the apartment if he decides to live there, the Régie ruled.

The tenant declined a request for comment.

Does the ruling set a precedent?
Summit Property Management had been fighting the case for two years. The continual flow of short-term renters had led to complaints about noise and smoking from the tenants of other units, Pungartnik said.

"We need to protect the interests of our tenants who are actually there 12 months of the year ... I personally wouldn't want a new neighbour every week. One week it could be a quiet couple, the next week it could be a bachelor party," he said.

A Quebec law that went into effect in April requires owners who frequently rent out their properties to obtain the same provincial certification as hotel and bed-and-breakfast operators.

However, it's still not entirely clear what property owners have the right to do to stop tenants from turning their apartment into a hotel, or if this ruling will apply to landlords dealing with renters living in Canada, Pungartnik said.

"We tried different things because it was somewhat new to us," he said.

"He initially signed the unit to live in it. However, he has not slept in the unit one night."

Ted Wright, a consultant on rental board affairs at the Westmount Legal Clinic, said the province doesn't give the rental board enough resources to solve this problem.

He said landlords should inspect the unit they are renting out if they suspect something is awry.

"If indeed there are problems, send a legal letter," he said.

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