24 May 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Want to Airbnb Your Condo? Think Again.

The rapid growth of property sharing sites such as AirBnB have started to change the way investment properties are being evaluated. Not so much on the selling side as of yet, but astute property investors on the buying side are starting to calculate R.O.I. (return on investment) in ways that make some traditionally ‘unattractive’ rental properties look like goldmines.

One targeted group who have been quick to quick to adapt to the Airbnb demand are condo owners. For various reasons (mainly ease of setup and operation), condo investors and some owner-occupied units have decided to cash in on the ‘rent-from-me’ craze.

What most condo owners are unaware of is that they are breaking the law – specifically the condo by-laws that they willingly agreed to when they purchased their unit.

Most condos have restrictions in place when it comes to rental timelines, which generally run from a minimum of six months and can go up to one year. I’ve seen few that allow for less than six months, but they do exist.

A problem that has started to pop up in downtown Toronto (and I’m sure across many similar sized cities) is the criminal element that use condos rented through Airbnb as their mobile crime dens – the attractive female who is ‘visiting’ Toronto for the weekend and sets up her escort shop, or the drug dealing couple who plant themselves inside a unit in the heart of the entertainment district – make it extremely difficult to police.

Next weekend it’s a different building, or even a different floor in the same building… You get the idea. Regardless, the owner of the unit is not only breaking the by-laws, but are legally liable for any damage or harm caused. This is a very serious matter that has drawn little attention, while government and condo managers and boards figure out what to do to stop it.

The takeaway is this: make sure you are completely aware of your responsibilities as an owner and protect yourself accordingly. I see many condo boards coming down heavy on condo owners who are knowingly breaking their by-laws.

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