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Canada'These guys are predators': Condo owner says home turned into Airbnb 'ghost hotel'

13:45  06 may  2019
13:45  06 may  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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" These guys are predators ." Yung in the kitchen of his New York apartment. He says his Ottawa tenant has been renting his home on Airbnb without his permission. (Skype image). With files from Zach Dubinsky and data analysis by Valerie Ouellet, Naël Shiab and Inayat Singh.

' These guys are predators ': Condo owner says home turned into Airbnb ' ghost hotel '. "They threatened to shoot someone, and we called the No surprise, the ByWard Market is a popular spot for Airbnb rentals. But people who live there say too many short-term rental units are making it a problem.

'These guys are predators': Condo owner says home turned into Airbnb 'ghost hotel' © Jennifer Chevalier/CBC Jennifer Chevalier/CBC

An Ottawa man who says his tenant is renting his condo out on Airbnb against his will — and the condo board's rules — says he feels "violated" by "predators."

Jason Yung moved to New York City a few years ago to pursue a master's degree, and in January found a new tenant to rent his ByWard Market condo.

Almost immediately, he had complaints from neighbours in the small 22-unit St. Patrick Street building about the number of people coming and going from his apartment.

"There's a parade of guests staying at the place," said fellow condo owner Michael Baran. "We don't know who's coming in. We can't control it."

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Critics of Airbnb " ghost hotels " in Ottawa are unconvinced the company's new rules, introduced after a deadly shooting in California, will curb parties that spin out of control. ByWard Market ' ghost hotels ' a magnet for crime, neighbours say . ' These guys are predators ': Condo owner says home turned

' These guys are predators ': Condo owner says home turned into Airbnb ' ghost hotel '. Yung said Airbnb refused to intervene when it was clear the tenant was advertising on the site without his permission, and despite restrictions in the lease and condo rules.

Yung found his home listed on Airbnb by a host named "Daniel." When he complained to his tenant, the property was delisted but soon reappeared under the host name "John."

The image used for "John" is actually a picture of the South Korean actor Jang Geun Suk.

'Taken for a fool'

A "ghost hotel" is a term for an Airbnb listing that isn't owner-occupied, but essentially a short-term rental managed by a company and sometimes advertised under a fake profile.

John has seven properties listed in Ottawa and Montreal, including Yung's "cozy one-bedroom apartment," available for rent in May for as low as $71 a night.

Neighbours say Airbnb guests are staying there right now.

"I makes me feel violated, really," Yung said. "Like, really taken for a fool."

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" These homes and units, often purchased in Should Airbnb agree to what City Council is asking, it would have to immediately remove roughly 8,200 non-compliant listings in Toronto from its platform. "Thousands of houses and condos have been removed from the housing market by investors and are

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Yung said when he contacted his tenant, he denied subletting the property in contravention of the lease agreement and the condo board rules.

CBC contacted the tenant, and while he declined an interview, he did say he lived in the apartment and his landlord's information is false.

'These guys are predators': Condo owner says home turned into Airbnb 'ghost hotel' © Jennifer Chevalier/CBC Jennifer Chevalier/CBC

Hosts must comply with local rules

Neighbour Jackie Swain lives across from the unit and said she's seen a number of guests over the last few months.

"Some people only come for a night, so you could have several different people coming in, night after night," she said.

Last week, one stranger Swain described as "sort of seedy looking" banged on her door and asked to use her Wi-Fi.

Yung contacted Airbnb to ask them to remove the listing, but was told they were "unable to mediate or assist."

In a statement to CBC, Airbnb said hosts "must certify that they will comply with local rules before they list their space." They said there is a forum on the website where neighbours can share concerns about a listing in their community.

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Airbnb ’s situation right now is about as dire as it could be . Amid the viral outbreak, travelers are afraid to stay in strangers’ homes . But even before the pandemic hit, changing attitudes and changing rules meant Airbnb owners were facing a much harsher new reality.

Airbnb says it has remitted million in PST in the first six months of collecting the tax which kicked in Oct. 1, 2018. That means the tax money is rolling in at almost twice the expected rate because when Airbnb ' These guys are predators ': Condo owner says home turned into Airbnb ' ghost hotel '.

For Yung, that's not enough.

"They definitely want to charge all the fees from it, but they don't want any of the responsibility," he said.

'Multilisters' behind almost half of Ottawa's Airbnbs

With only seven listings, however, John isn't even one of the most prolific hosts in Ottawa, however.

According to a CBC News analysis of Airbnb listings for entire homes or apartments carried out on April 10, that distinction belongs to someone going by the name "Genevieve."

When CBC analyzed the listings, Genevieve was listing 75 properties.

In all, there are 210 listers in Ottawa offering more than one property for rent. Otherwise known as "multilisters," they manage a total of 789 properties, representing 48 per cent of the city's listings.

That's well ahead of Toronto, where 42 per cent of listings are managed by multilisters, and Vancouver, with 32 per cent.

Gatineau has 79 hosts with multiple listings, and they manage  52 per cent of the city's listings.

"Most of what's happening on Airbnb isn't home-sharing," said McGill University urban planning professor David Wachsmuth, who has studied the company for several years. "Instead, it's something much more like commercial short-term rental operations."

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This building, designed in the English neo-gothic architectural style, was in fact built in 1885 by Robert McGill and is St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, which They were both great football fans and decided to introduce this game to the workers of the factory. This resulted in the first professional football team

' Ghost hotels '—buildings that are filled with short-term rentals to tourists—have cleared out amid the coronavirus pandemic and left Airbnb Standing just a short jog away from the CN Tower, the postcard aesthetic the building purveys has seen many of its 920 condos co-opted into Airbnb units.

"[These hosts] with multiple listings, they're the ones who are actually in this as a business who are renting their properties out year-round," Wachsmuth said.

'These guys are predators': Condo owner says home turned into Airbnb 'ghost hotel' © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Skype image

Impact on housing market

The CBC analysis shows that up to 0.41 per cent of all Ottawa homes are listed on Airbnb.

Wachsmuth said if just one per cent or less of a city's housing is converted into short-term rentals, that can have a "really serious" impact on housing stocks.

"That one per cent number looks small when you compare it to the amount of housing in general, but if you compare it to the amount of housing that's available for new tenants or new homeowners, it actually is a much, much higher percentage," said Wachsmuth.

Ottawa's central neighbourhoods have the most listings. The ByWard Market tops the table, with 3.4 per cent of all private dwellings available to rent on Airbnb.

Airbnb has consistently said that data gathered in this manner is unreliable and can have significant gaps because of the limited information available on its public web pages.

'These guys are predators': Condo owner says home turned into Airbnb 'ghost hotel' © Toni Choueiri/CBC Toni Choueiri/CBC

'Change the locks'

As for Yung, he's trying to evict his tenant, but his hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board was recently postponed until June.

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He said he fears for his elderly neighbours who may have to put up with the "chaos" of living next to a ghost hotel for months.

"I feel like there should be some kind of situations that the landlord is able to change the locks on these deceptive tenants," he said.

"These guys are predators."

With files from Zach Dubinsky and data analysis by Valerie Ouellette, Naël Shiab and Inayat Singh.

METHODOLOGY: How did CBC analyze neighbourhoods and Airbnb listings?

CBC monitored and collected the price, number of reviews, star rating and geolocation of all listings advertising an entire home or suite that appeared on Airbnb's website on April 10, 2019, for 17 Canadian towns and cities. A minority of listings might be duplicates of the same property created by the same host as a marketing strategy.

For six major cities, including Ottawa, a neighbourhood breakdown was also conducted. Each of the six cities provided CBC with their custom "Neighbourhood Profile" and current neighbourhood boundaries.

CBC then used the total number of private dwellings, which include both occupied and unoccupied homes, to estimate the percentage of homes listed on Airbnb in each neighbourhood. In Ottawa, these numbers came from the 2016 census.

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