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The “Airbnb” Decision is Out

Earlier this month, we blogged about what became known as the “Airbnb decision”. The decision, OCSCC 961 v. Menzies, is now reported and can finally be accessed online.

You will recall that this decision dealt with the case of an owner who very successfully leased out his condo unit on short-term basis on sites such as Airbnb. Such short-term leasing was found to be in breach of the condominium’s declaration which restricted the use of units to that of a “single family dwelling”.  The corporation had also adopted a tenancy rule, restricting tenancies to a minimum of 4 months.

Justice Beaudoin found that these short-term leases were contrary to both the declaration and the rule.  He accepted that a single family residence is “a basic social unit which involves more than merely sharing short-term temporary sleeping quarters and shared facilities on a rental basis“.  He also concluded that:

“Single family use” cannot be interpreted to include one’s operation of a hotel-like business, with units being offered to complete strangers on the internet, on a repeated basis, for durations as short as a single night. Single family use is incompatible with the concepts of “check in” and “check out” times, “cancellation policies”, “security deposits”, “cleaning fees”, instructions on what to do with dirty towels/sheets and it does not operate on credit card payments.

Our work on this precedent setting decision was reported in numerous publications, including the Financial Post, the Ottawa Business Journal, Condo Business Magazine and many more.

Since the issuance of the decision, we have been fielding numerous questions from corporations, managers and lawyers. We are happy to help corporations review their declaration and existing rules to help them develop the best strategy.  In cases where the declaration does not contain the same restriction, we have implemented rules on short-term tenancies. We are also happy to assist corporations in communicating this important decision to their owners.

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