Covid-19, followed by the rising mortgage rates, has brought many challenges forth for landlords on variable mortgages.
The cost of carrying a property has increased at a rate much faster than the legally permissible rent increases landlords are qualified to ask for. For many landlords, the lucrative opportunities that were once available through long-term rental agreements have turned into a losing investment.
Nonetheless, it is not all dismal for property owners looking to optimize financially on their property investments. In a recent LTB decision, it was found that long-term guests staying at Airbnb properties would not qualify as tenants under the Residential Tenancy Act, 2006, S.0, C. 17.
The Act defines a tenant to “include a person who pays rent in return for the right to occupy a rental unit….” Rental unit “means any living accommodation used or intended for use as rented residential premises…” and rent has been defined to, “include the amount of any consideration paid or given or required to be paid or given by or on behalf of a tenant to a landlord or the landlord’s agent for the right to occupy a rental unit and for any services and facilities and any privilege, accommodation or thing that the landlord provides for the tenant in respect of the occupancy of the rental unit….”.
How the Board Has Decided?
So, the question remains, does a long-term Airbnb rental constitute a rental agreement that would need to comply with the Act? According to Section 5 of the Act, there are several forms of living accommodation that are not required to comply with the law as set forth under the Act. It was found by member Peter Nicholson in this recent LTB decision that Section 5, specifically, “travelling and vacating public,” included customers who had decided to stay long-term at Airbnb properties. Thus, it was decided that the parties that had been staying at the Airbnb had no claim under the Act.
This may be a win for landlords or rather Airbnb hosts, but it is not guaranteed that every long-term Airbnb stay will fall outside of the Act. Member Nicholson cautioned that this exemption would not necessarily apply to other online booking websites, and he saw the importance of differentiating Airbnb, which is used by “travelling or vacationing public,” as opposed to other sites whose clientele tend to fall outside of this category.
Legal Assistance With Your Matter
In the event you are an Airbnb host and have a discrepancy with a guest claiming rights under the Act, it is best you speak with a legal representative to better determine if and how a tenant may be able to bring a claim forward under the Residential Tenancy Act.
This blog is made available by the law firm publisher, Epstein & Associates, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. Any specific questions about your legal concerns please contact us now and speak to a legal representative.