Short-term rental company Airbnb said Friday it would remove listings in Quebec that don’t have a provincial government permit, eight days after a deadly fire destroyed a historic building in Old Montreal that housed illegal rentals.
So far, four bodies have been removed from the building and three people are still missing in the rubble of the William Watson Ogilvie building, built in 1890. Some of the missing people had rented their homes on Airbnb. In 2018, short-term Airbnb rentals were made illegal in the area where the building is located.
In a letter to Quebec Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx on Friday, Airbnb said it would remove listings across the province that do not have a permit from the agency that manages the province’s tourist accommodation law. Airbnb also said it would require new listings to include the permit number in the coming days. The company also promised to give the provincial government access to the Airbnb City Portal, a tool it says helps communities enforce the rules and understand its local footprint.
“These actions build on our years-long efforts to work with local and provincial governments on short-term rental rules that help address community concerns and also preserve a vital source of additional revenue for residents,” the company wrote.
The letter was signed by Nathan Rotman, Airbnb’s representative for Canada and the northeastern United States. He was one of two company employees who met with Proulx on Thursday in Quebec City.
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