After A Fatal Fire In Old Montreal, Mayor Plante Is Calling For A Crackdown On Illegal Airbnbs

Six people are still missing in the aftermath of the fire.

Staff Writer
Mayor Valérie Plante speaks with someone at the RDP-PAT Bal de l’amour.

Mayor Valérie Plante speaks with someone at the RDP-PAT Bal de l’amour.

"It's important to determine the causes of this tragedy," Mayor Valérie Plante said of the Old Montreal fire that claimed at least one life and left six people missing late last week. The building was multipurpose, Plante said, including homes, an architectural firm and, most likely, one or more illegal Airbnbs.

"They've been a blight on cities for a long time," Plante wrote of illegal Airbnbs in a Facebook post on Monday, March 20.

For the mayor, there are two key elements of the ongoing investigation: firstly the fire itself, bringing answers to the families of the victims, and "on the other hand, managing Airbnbs," she said in a press conference. The ministers of tourism and housing have been called in to "determine what more we need to do" to address the issue, Plante added.

"We have been asking for several years for more inspectors at Revenu Québec and for a dedicated team in Montreal," to combat illegal short-term rentals, Plante's Facebook post reads.

Illegal Airbnbs mean "taxes that aren't getting paid," Plante said, emphasizing Revenu Québec's responsibility as well as the city of Montreal's. She didn't let Airbnb off the hook, either, saying "We communicated with [Airbnb] to make sure that they're a part of the solution."

Plante also wants Airbnb to "make sure that anyone who wants to list their property should have to display their [government-issued] certification number," something that currently is not a requirement on the platform.

"We wouldn't be in this situation if we had a business that took full responsibility," she continued, affirming that the city would be working with Airbnb to improve its security and to minimize the presence of illegal rentals.

Plante encouraged Montrealers to call 311 if they witness any illicit hospitality in their neighbourhoods as part of an effort to "crack down" on the issue.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Willa Holt
Staff Writer
Willa Holt is a Creator for MTL Blog, often found covering weird and wonderful real estate and local politics from her home base in Montreal.