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We’ve told you before about some of the potential complications involved with services such as Airbnb which facilitate short-term rentals of residential properties. Recently, a decision of the Ontario Superior Court ruled that condominium corporations have the legal right to ban unit owners from renting out their units through sites/services such as Airbnb.

Ontario’s Condominium Act gives condo boards the power to adopt rules concerning things such as the number of pets that owners of a condo unit can keep or rules for accessing common areas (such as pools or fitness centres). They can also adopt rules that prevent or restrict how a condo owner could rent or lease their unit.

Additionally, the Ontario Condominium Act states that residential units within a condo building are to be occupied “only for the purpose of a single family dwelling which includes a home office…and for no other purpose.”

The decision stated 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.”

This decision provides condo boards with a legal precedent to use in relying on their declarations to ban Airbnb-type rentals in the building. This ruling does not necessarily preclude condo boards from banning rentals through home-sharing apps or websites, nor does it prevent homeowners from taking advantage of them.

In choosing to make their units available for rent through services like Airbnb, condo owners will have to be mindful of the limitations and rules set forward by the condo-board and the penalties they would face for disregarding those rules.

Home-sharing presents unique challenges for both host and guest. Bylaws and court rulings continue to develop in this area. The team of municipal lawyers and real estate lawyers at Daniel & Partners LLP has extensive experience drafting and interpreting municipal by-laws and assisting both owners and boards with condominium law.  If you have a question in this area, please contact us today.

Blog post by Karen Shedden, NCA Candidate.

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