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Anti-Airbnb demonstration in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve

Anti-Airbnb demonstration in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve

About a hundred demonstrators gathered on Wednesday afternoon in front of a building in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve area where apartments are rented through Airbnb, to denounce this way of doing things.

“In the midst of the housing crisis, it is provocative that we have a brand new building full of Airbnbs, which in no way meets the needs of the people in the neighbourhood,” lamented local community organizer Annie Lapalme, from Entraide Logement Hochelaga -Maisonneuve, addressing The audience.

“Today we say: Enough!”

Photo by Robert Skinner, Press

Annie Lapalme, from Hochelaga-Maisonneuve for housing support

“When we favor real estate speculators, this is what makes a working-class neighborhood become a haven for tourists, and we can no longer find housing,” added Emmanuel Cree, of the Popular Organization for Social Rights.

The building in question was the target of vandalism last week. The ground floor was covered in paint, graffiti and anti-Airbnb rental stickers.

In this 27-unit building, owned by Strawberry Stays, three accommodations are available for short-term rental on online platforms. The owner had already indicated his intention to rent the building on a short-term basis at the time of the building's construction, as well as in the lawsuit filed last August against the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, challenging a municipal bylaw prohibiting commercial tourist rentals.

Three people received a certificate of conformity from the town to allow them to rent accommodation in this building on Airbnb, declaring it to be their main residence, which is allowed by municipal regulations.

Protest organizers attacked Strawberry Stays, shouting at the company to “get out.” But they also condemned the region's mayor, Pierre Lessard Blé, whom they accused of not enforcing his regulations and of “nepotism” with real estate investors.

Marine Gee said: “The town is going hand in hand with predatory investors,” said Armangod, community organizer for the BAILS committee.

Instead, Pierre Lessard Blaise blames the current situation on the Quebec government, which is preventing the town from fully enforcing its regulations governing commercial rentals on Airbnb. He confirms that Revenu Québec is the one that can determine a citizen's principal place of residence and has law enforcement investigators. Tourist Accommodation Law.

“It is positive that there is mobilization of citizens. “I encourage people to denounce commercial rentals on Airbnb, to encourage Revenu Québec to hire more inspectors,” the region's mayor said in an interview following Wednesday's demonstration.

Photo by Robert Skinner, Press

The building in question was the target of vandalism last week. The ground floor was covered in paint, graffiti and anti-Airbnb rental stickers.

“Quebec must act quickly, for the sake of its credibility and to prove the effectiveness of its law.”

He reiterated the town's opposition to any commercial tourist leasing on its land, and revealed that he contacted Revenu Québec inspectors to ask them to investigate apartments offered on Airbnb by Strawberry Stays.

Mr. Lessard-Blé confirms that representations have been made to the office of the Minister of Tourism, Caroline Brühl, to draw his attention to this violation that could allow individuals to advertise that they are renting their main residence via Airbnb, without municipalities being able to cross – check this confirmation.

“We are going through the worst housing crisis in history, but the town and Revenu Québec are taking turns to avoid enforcing the regulations. We should not be surprised to see the neighborhood angry, and this anger is far from calmed,” denounced Louis Boudin Marcoux, of the Bail Commission, during the demonstration.

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