Airbnb has become a popular way for many people who travel to obtain accommodations. The premise is that people rent out their own dwellings to travellers. However, the company has become the target of class action litigation in Canada launched by a Vancouver strata corporation claiming that Airbnb has rented properties throughout Canada without having the rightful owners’ consent and has netted a percentage of money from those rentals without compensating the true owners.
The lawsuit is also being filed on behalf of apartment and home owners who haven’t authorized their properties for short-term rental. In most cases, these properties are being listed on Airbnb by tenants living in them, and they apparently have not informed the owners. The issue is difficult to detect due to Airbnb’s online set up.
Properties can be listed without specifying their exact location. That is given after the booking takes place. Some properties have been damaged by these short-term vacation rentals — especially to the common areas like gyms, swimming pools and party rooms.
In this suit, the plaintiffs are asking that the court impose an injunction against Airbnb to stop advertising properties in Canada without having the legal owners’ consent. The suit is also asking Airbnb to provide statements of income in regards to these properties in addition to punitive damages. Airbnb has yet to respond to the lawsuit.
Citizens in Canada who own rental property and who find their tenants are posting on these kinds of online travel sites might wish to speak with a lawyer to weigh their options. A legal professional well versed in class action litigation would be able to guide his or her client’s course of action. This branch of the law can be challenging to understand, and a lawyer’s advice could prove invaluable.
Source: vancouversun.com, “Vancouver strata files class action lawsuit against Airbnb,” Keith Fraser, Nov. 2, 2017