The 2015 Pan Am Games are coming to Toronto from July 10-26 followed by the Parapan American Games from August 7-15. This will be an exciting time for Toronto on the world athletic stage, even if it will be a nightmare for local drivers!
Many condominium corporations have expressed concern that they will see an increase in short-term leasing in their buildings during the Games. Websites such as Airbnb have made this type of transient use easier than ever to arrange. With prices for scarce hotel rooms at a premium, the influx of visitors to the city will be looking for affordable accommodation. Event venues are spread across the city and region, so this will affect more than just downtown Toronto condominium corporations. Any complex within reasonable proximity of a venue or a transit line could see an increase in short-term rental during this time.
In order to be prepared, your condominium corporation should consider taking the following steps as soon as possible:
- Review your condominium documents to ensure that they deal effectively with short-term leasing. Unless your corporation has passed a specific Rule to deal with short-term occupancy, the single family provisions normally found in the Declaration will not be adequate to deal with the problem.
- If your condominium documents do not contain a prohibition against short-term occupancy, it is still not too late to pass a Rule prohibiting it. You cannot do this, however, if the Declaration specifically allows short term rentals as some do. The Rule should include language specifically dealing with Airbnb-type listings. The Condominium Act permits corporations to pass Rules of this nature to “promote the safety, security or welfare of the owners and of the property and assets of the corporation” and/or to “prevent unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the common elements, the units or the assets of the corporation”. These Rules have been upheld by the courts.
- If the appropriate Rules are in place, notice should be sent to all owners reminding them of the corporation’s short-term leasing provisions, as well as other applicable provisions against noise, nuisance, etc. The notice should inform them that management and security will be on increased look-out for this behaviour during the Games. It should also remind them of the consequences of non-compliance such as deactivation of fobs and chargebacks (if permitted by your documents) of all legal and other enforcement costs.
- Starting from now, management should implement a regular schedule of reviewing websites such as Airbnb and Craigslist for ads listing units in your building. Any such ads should be printed or saved immediately for enforcement purposes before the non-compliant unit owner has the opportunity to destroy the evidence by taking down the ad. Owners whose units are listed should be notified that these rentals will not be permitted.
Keep in mind that Rules take at least 30 days to come into force! To be safe, any condominium corporation wishing to pass a short-term occupancy Rule should send notice of it to owners by the end of May.