You may not be able to list your condo on Airbnb after Ontario court ruling

The court ordered the condo owner to comply with the short-term rental ban.
The court ordered the condo owner to comply with the short-term rental ban. (Photo: REUTERS/Yuya Shino/File Photo)

It’s the holiday season, and travelers coming to Canada to experience one of our winters often look for cheaper alternatives to hotels by staying in privately rented condominium units. Unfortunately for them, a recent Ontario decision may have put an end to condominium owners offering their units for a short-term rental.

An Ottawa, Ont. condo owner had advertised his unit as a short-term rental on Airbnb and a number of other sites. When the owner put up the listing, he specified “be discreet about mentioning Airbnb to anyone in the building and under no circumstances should [guests] ever leave the keys with the concierge.”

The problem was that the condo rules forbade for units to be used for anything other than “single family use.”

Once the other owners got wind of what the owner planned to do, further condo rules were passed that forbade short term rentals of less than four months. The owner argued that the rules can’t forbid short-term rentals.

The court disagreed with the owner and likened short-term rentals to “basically operating a hotel out of a residential complex,” which goes against the rules that specified single family use. The court ordered the condo owner to comply with the short-term rental ban.

One of the problems with short-term rentals is that they don’t just offer use of the unit but also the amenities such as parking, pool and exercise rooms, raising safety concerns.

Though condo owners buy their units and pay for an amenity, that doesn’t mean that can do what they want with their units. Ownership privileges and rights are curtailed by condo rules, which impose responsibilities on owners.

Such responsibilities include paying the monthly condo fees on time, maintaining and repairing one’s unit when necessary and following all set condominium rules. Those rules are binding on all condo owners and if they fail to follow the rules, they can be punished by being fined or being taken to court.

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