(Quebec) Since the adoption in April of the new Quebec legislation to regulate tourist accommodation, we can not say that Quebec City took advantage of the “manna” of the legalization of residential tourist accommodation offered by via web platforms like Airbnb.
Since April 15, 2016, the Tourism Industry Corporation of Quebec has received 580 new applications for classification certificate, compared with 358 for the same period last year, an increase of over 60%, according to data from Ministry of Tourism.
“We can say that most offenders contacted during the first stage of the procedure for treatment of illegal tourist accommodation [awareness notice] decide to regularize their situation. Several make a classification certificate application and other cease their operations or decide to rent for periods longer than 31 days, “says Guy Simard, spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism.
In the capital, however, we can not say that the accommodation will be rushed to the door. At the City of Quebec, which receives the compliance audit requests from the Ministry of Tourism, only 38 applications for a new tourist residence certificate had been received since the entry into force of the law.
It is to receive the certificate, owners must comply with all laws and regulations that apply to the operation of a tourist accommodation establishment, including the Planning Act and development, ensuring that the intended use of the residence complies with the municipal planning regulations on the procedures in force in the municipality.
It must be said that Quebec, areas where the tourist accommodation is permitted for periods of less than 31 days are as rare as the Pokémon Mewtwo, and Snorlax Porygon …
“There are not many areas where it is allowed. It is especially concentrated in the central and touristic area, “says the spokesperson for the City of Quebec, Rose-Marie Ayotte, citing among others the Saint-Louis and Grande Allée.
“It is cut with a knife. There are sectors of the Saint-Jean street where it is allowed, others not. We invite those interested to make their residence or accommodation available on platforms like Airbnb to view the interactive map available on the website of the City of Quebec. If the use is authorized C11 is that this area allows tourist accommodation. If it is not, tourist accommodation is illegal, “says Ms. Ayotte.
In case of violation of regulations on urban planning of the City of Quebec, the fine, including costs, amounted to $ 1,282 for an individual and $ 2,500 for a corporation. The Ministry of Tourism, the fines range between $ 750 and $ 2,250 per day of violation and in case of repetition between $ 2,250 and $ 6,750 per day.
Since April 15, 2016, however, only three of offense in connection with the new legislation were presented by the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions.
An owner unable to rectify the situation
An owner of apartment buildings that offer tourist accommodation through the Airbnb platform would regularize the situation. He sees however confined to illegality because of a zoning regulation in Quebec City he considers too harsh.
“I had a three-room dwelling and a half and a studio that I had to bring together in one housing due to new standards of the Régie du bâtiment. However, it is impossible for me to rent this great home at the same price that I rented the studio and the three and a half. I said that in praising via Airbnb, I rentabiliserais housing and that my building would be profitable, “said Sun George (real name), who does not want his real name to be mentioned in order not to draw attention of the authorities.
Full of hope following the adoption in April of the new law on tourist accommodation, Georges is for the Ministry of Tourism for a permit. However, it refers to the City of Quebec, which will confirm that its housing is located in an area where tourist accommodation is permitted.
“I was told that my apartment was not located in this area. The I spoke to officer showed me the map of the areas where it is allowed and it appears that this zoning is very, very limited in Quebec. A small part of the city allows this use, “he continues.
Getting closer to the legality
Still, George decided to rent its housing on Airbnb and tries to get as close as possible to the law. “I take no chance, I” load “the GST and QST and I commend the governments. I wish I could regulate my activities, but it is impossible under current conditions, “he lamented.
George adds that its housing is rented very well on Airbnb. “I was surprised how well it works. It’s cheaper than the hotel, but there are fewer services. I’ve realized that many people wanted that. ”
He considered somewhat odd to hear hoteliers invite those who practice illegal hotel to comply with the same regulations as them. “Me, that’s exactly what I would do. I would like to pay my taxes to the Ministry of Tourism and the City of Quebec. But the reality is that it is almost impossible to Quebec now.
“Do not tell us to get our permits and pay our dues. Rather than being told Quebec City does not allow Airbnb. I find it absurd, especially as the city refused to reopen the case of zoning in the wake of the new provincial legislation, “he concluded.