Toronto landlord alleges renters rented unit on Airbnb at least 30 times without their knowledge in $1.6M lawsuit

A Toronto woman has launched a lawsuit seeking more than $1.5 million from Airbnb, the City of Toronto and two former tenants after the condo she owns was allegedly rented out on the short-term rental platform by dozens of sometimes without your knowledge.

A civil lawsuit filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on behalf of Toronto resident Allison Rasquinha seeks a class action sum of $1.6 million from defendants, alleging that in February 2023, Rasquinha learned that his Adelaide Street West condominium had been rented as an unauthorized short. -Term of rental property more than 30 times in the last year.

“It was quite a while without me knowing about it,” Rasquinha said. The Vassy Kapelos Show Tuesday. “It was such a terrible feeling, like a huge breach of trust.”

The lawsuit accuses Airbnb and the city of failing to verify whether tenants were authorized to rent the property on a short-term basis.

The allegations have not been proven in court and, at the time of publication, neither defendant had filed a defense statement.

When contacted for comment, Airbnb confirmed that the listing had been removed and the host can no longer offer rentals on the platform, and the City of Toronto said it could not provide a statement on the matters while they remained before the public. courts. CTV News Toronto was unable to contact the unit’s two former tenants per post.

Marielle Dahab, Rasquinha’s lawyer, says the four defendants became “unfairly enriched” by the alleged repeat rentals, and that the case sheds light on the need for a stronger municipal investigation of Airbnb operators in the city.

“[The city] cannot put the burden on users to confirm authority because that is not the way to deal with misrepresentation,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.

RENTED MORE THAN 30 TIMES: DEMAND

On July 1, 2022, Rasquinha signed a one-year lease with two tenants, according to the statement of claim filed on his behalf.

That agreement reportedly prohibited tenants from subletting the property, the claim states. However, two weeks after the lease went into effect, Rasquinha alleges that the city issued its tenants a short-term rental registration.

Between July 2022 and April 2023, Rasquinha alleges that his unit was rented more than 30 times on Airbnb without his knowledge. She became aware of the situation in February, the claim says.

“I only found out after our security guards noticed an incident report that someone came in with luggage and was looking for an Airbnb suite,” Rasquinha told The Vassy Kapelos Show. “So I thought I’d get on Airbnb and check, and lo and behold, my condo was there.”

Airbnb Reviews

Rasquinha alleges that Airbnb was slow to remove the listing, allowing it to remain on the platform for weeks after it notified the company in mid-March.

On March 21, he alerted city officials to the situation, and on April 2, the city rescinded the tenant’s short-term rental registration, the complaint says.

About two weeks later, on April 16, Airbnb removed the listing from its platform, the company confirmed to CTV News Toronto.

Dahab says that during this time, all parties except Rasquinhas were benefiting. With every rental, Airbnb charges service fees to both guests and hosts. With each registration, the city charges a fee of $53.

“Essentially, the blanket claim is that all of the defendants unjustly enriched themselves,” Dahab said.

airbnb

INADEQUATE CURRENT POLICIES: LAWYER

Dahab said the city needs to do more to vet potential Airbnb hosts before issuing them a registration.

“Airbnb, as well as the city, need to ensure that landlords are allowed to rent units,” the lawyer said, adding that not doing so also puts renters at risk.

In its statement, the city said that prohibits Airbnb operators from hosting any property other than your primary residence – the address where they live and receive mail. It also requires applicants provide a valid government-issued ID that matches your primary residence.

However, those who rent or own condos are subject to applicable statutes imposed by the condominium corporation, he said. Sometimes these prohibit short-term rentals, and in such cases, the city says it is not responsible for enforcement.

This shared responsibility not only puts landlords at risk, but also renters, Dahab said.

“If a legal owner comes to a property and says, ‘Who are you? I did not authorize you to be here,’ it can also put tenants at risk, ”he said.

For Rasquinha, the matter is more personal and he says that the situation has caused him trust problems.

“It just makes you want to essentially retire and take a few steps back and say why I was giving so much to my precious home,” he said.

If residents have complaints about Airbnb operators in Toronto, they can contact 311, and the city says a law enforcement officer will be assigned to investigate.


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