Montreal suburb moving to crack down on short-term rentals

Click to play video: 'Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue moves to tighten regulations on short-term rentals'
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue moves to tighten regulations on short-term rentals
WATCH: The city of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue on the island of Montreal, is moving to tighten regulations on short-term rentals. They are already illegal in residential areas of the city, but it is now set to adopt a new bylaw that will greatly restrict Airbnb listings in commercial areas of Sainte-Anne's, like its village. And as Global's Felicia Parrillo reports, other municipalities may soon follow suit. – Apr 26, 2023

One of the most popular and iconic places west of Montreal is Ste-Anne Street on the western tip of the island.

It’s filled with restaurants and unique shops — with the historic Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue canal as a backdrop.

It has always been legal for short-term rentals to exist in this part of the city, since it is a tourist destination, but council is hoping to now make it a bit more difficult.

“The criteria is quite strict — the building itself has got to cover a certain number of square feet, you’ve got to have a certain number of linear feet that come up against the sidewalk or street,” said Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa. “And you also have to have your certification from the authorities.”

It’s already illegal for anyone to host an Airbnb in residential areas of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.

Story continues below advertisement

Hawa says it was important for the city to crack down on short-term rentals in its commercial areas as well.

“Once someone rents out an Airbnb you’re basically withdrawing that unit from the market,” she said. “And in a situation like in the village, where we have a scarcity of residential apartments or homes, it’s very important if we want to attract back families and control rent amounts, we need to control who you’re renting it to.”

In Quebec, municipalities are allowed to change or tighten certain bylaws on short-term rentals — but they cannot override the provincewide legislation.

In March, a deadly fire in Montreal’s Old Port killed seven people, many of whom had rented units in the building on Airbnb, which was illegal due to a city bylaw.

Hawa says its new bylaw has been in the works for over a year, and other neighbouring municipalities say they’d also like to follow suit.

“Buildings or rebuilds or knockdowns or anything developed in our commercial settings will be either condos-slash-Airbnbs,” said Pointe-Claire Mayor Tim Thomas. “So it does drive prices up and it also brings in the wrong kind of consumer.”

Cédric Dussault, a co-spokesperson for the coalition of housing committees and tenants’ associations of Quebec (RCLALQ), applauds municipalities like Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue for tightening regulations on its territory.

Story continues below advertisement

However, he says it is difficult for municipalities to control illegal listings. For that part, the provincial government must step in.

“In order to crack down on illegal listings, they must fine the platforms themselves,” said Dussault. “Up to now what has been done is trying to control the host that has been operating illegally, but frankly that does not work at all. You have to target the platform itself with heavy fines and this part is in the hands of the government of Quebec.”

Sainte-Anne plans to adopt the bylaw at the next council meeting on May 8.

Sponsored content