Airbnb Will Purge All Illegal Listings In Quebec & Thousands Could Disappear

Rule changes will take effect "in the coming days."

Senior Editor
The Airbnb app on a smartphone.

The Airbnb app on a smartphone.

Airbnb has committed to removing all listings from its site that don't comply with Quebec law. The announcement comes after a deadly fire in an Old Montreal building that officials suspect had illegal Airbnb units. That news led to widespread outcry and calls from officials at the municipal and provincial levels for a crackdown on the short-term rental platform.

In a letter sent to Quebec Minister of Tourism Caroline Proulx and shared with Narity Québec, Airbnb Regional Lead for Canada Nathan Rotman said the company would remove listings that don't include a permit number from the Corporation de l'industrie touristique du Québec (CITQ). It will also require a permit number in all new listings.

Finally, Airbnb will provide the Quebec government with access to its "City Portal," a tool the company says "[makes] it easier for governments to manage home sharing in their markets."

In a statement shared with MTL Blog, Minister Proulx said she is "satisfied" with Airbnb's decision but said she still intends to "tighten" the province's law regulating tourist accommodations.

It's not clear when the illegal Airbnb purge will begin, but Rotman explained in his March 24 letter that hosts will see a new online field for their CITQ numbers "in the coming days."

There's no telling how many listings Airbnb could remove, but 2022 estimates said there were between 13,000 and 25,000 illegal units across all short-term rental platforms that operate in the province.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante came down hard on illegal Airbnbs following the Old Montreal fire, calling them a "blight on cities."

She also called on the Quebec government to dedicate more resources to enforcing rules for short-term rentals, including additional inspectors and a "dedicated team" for Montreal.

She called on city residents to call 311 to report suspected illegal Airbnbs.

Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas is MTL Blog's Senior Editor. He lives in Saint-Henri and loves it so much that he named his cat after it. On weekdays, he's publishing stories, editing and helping to manage MTL Blog's team of amazing writers. His beats include the STM, provincial and municipal politics and Céline Dion. On weekends, you might run into him brunching at Greenspot, walking along the Lachine Canal or walking Henri the cat in Parc Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier.