Updates from July, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:11 on 2019-07-18 Permalink | Reply  

    A Superior Court judge has refused a request for an injunction against the secularity law, saying “the court must defer, at this stage, to the power of elected politicians to pass legislation they believe is in the public good.”

    • Kate 12:33 on 2019-07-18 Permalink | Reply  

      A new report shows how difficult to impossible it is to live in most locations in Canada on minimum wage, but Montreal is still more livable than Toronto despite recent surges in rent levels. La Presse puts it this way: you have to work 54 hours a week at minimum to afford a two‑bedroom place here. (And they don’t say so, but it won’t be a fancy one.)

      • Ian 19:03 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

        Or more likely you’ll take a 1 bed or roomies like everyone else on minimum wage in Montreal has done for decades, and you’ll pick a cheap neighbourhood. Why is that even worth mentioning? More newsworthy is that a 6 and a half by Laurier metro now goes for $2500 a month. Let’s talk about the sheer insanity in the AirBnB hoods, not wring our hands over vague averages that sound maybe okay. I almost suspect this story of trying to normalize the situation, like maybe La Presse has a lot of real estate advertisers, hm?

    • Kate 07:57 on 2019-07-18 Permalink | Reply  

      Quebec’s consumer protection law says posted prices need to be honest and the advertiser can’t be hiding additional fees and extras, but Airbnb has been breaking this rule now for years and the government is seemingly powerless to act.

      • Ian 10:06 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

        Considering how many levels of government are incapable of acting against them I can only applaud AirBnB for their impressive ability to find the right person(s) to pay off over the years. I only wonder what it took. Yachts? Overstuffed brown envelopes? Island cruises with powerful friends? I hope we find out one day, even if only to satisfy my morbid curiosity.

      • DeWolf 11:20 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

        I suspect the reality is less glamorous, Ian. The exact same thing happens in dozens of other cities around the world. I find it hard to imagine that Airbnb has some enormous global brown-envelope division that has managed to go unnoticed, even in places with much more stringent anti-corruption practices than Quebec, like Singapore and Hong Kong – both of which are filled with Airbnbs that violate local housing laws. I think the reality is that in most jurisdictions, a platform like this doesn’t match up with existing laws, and even when laws are changed, there just aren’t enough tools and resources to ensure they are being respected.

        The big problem is that Airbnb itself has shrugged off any responsibility for policing its listings, and it has been fighting hard in courtrooms all over the world to make sure it doesn’t have to make sure its listings comply with local laws.

        As long as that’s the case, local governments don’t have much power. There are just too many individual listings that may or may not be illegal, and the only way to find out is to invest tons of money in expensive sting operations. It’s one thing to see a listing online and quite another to prove in court that it shouldn’t be there. Without some kind of registration system that is enforced within the platform, I don’t see how the problem can be resolved.

      • thomas 11:44 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

        Does anyone know how to report illegal Airbnbs? Messages to my councillor, Alex Norris, have been ignored.

      • DeWolf 12:39 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

        It seems like there are no good options. From today’s Gazette story about the Soeurs-Grises party pad that has been in the news lately:

        “Blum has been in touch with an inspector at the city of Montreal, who looked into the situation last week. The city confirmed to the Montreal Gazette that it had received a complaint about the operation of an illegal tourist accommodation and commercial activity out of the address. The information was passed on to Revenu Québec and the host was informed, according to city press representative Audrey Gauthier. She said a city inspector has been assigned to the case.”

        That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Also, guess who owns the apartment in question? None other than… Shiller Lavy. I guess they’re on a mission to destroy Montreal’s residential streets along with its commercial ones!


      • Ephraim 14:22 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

        Thomas… Revenu Quebec, use this form… https://www.revenuquebec.ca/fr/services-en-ligne/formulaires-et-publications/details-courant/lm-6/

        Supposedly, if they also committed tax fraud, you are supposed to get a percentage of the amount that they recover.

      • Ephraim 15:10 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

        As I have said before. All RQ has to do is offer a reward for the denonciation equal to 25% of the fine and tell people to make a 4 day reservation on any AirBnB that isn’t legal. At $2500 per day, that’s $10K in fine and a 25% reward is $2500. Want to make bets that people will go hunting, making reservations and denouncing AirBnBs that are illegal… but this is part of the plan that starts in September… you will have to post a traceable number on your listing so that RQ can trace you. AirBnB is sending out emails to hosting trying to put pressure on the government. They will do almost anything to avoid being regulated. But the cities that have regulated them are doing much better than those that haven’t.

        The problem is that most people don’t know what is and what isn’t illegal. What is definitely illegal is an apartment that is wholly rented for less than 30 days and available with no one living there. This is commercial activity. They also need a rating from the CITQ as well as posting a CITQ sign outside. In fact, not posting the CITQ sign and not being listed on the CITQ website is generally proof of illegal activity. While the city says it can’t do anything, that isn’t really 100% true… they can at least put them on notice for change in tax definition…. I’m sure that an entire building with residences would quickly act if they were finding out that their property tax was going up 5 fold.

        What isn’t illegal… owner occupied, meaning that you are renting a room and you live on the premises (such as B&Bs, rooms in a shared apartment, etc.) As long as someone lives there all the time. And renting your personal space while out of town on a short vacation… not if you move out of town. Your clothing must be present, you must be getting your mail there, etc. You can prove that it is your permanent residence and that you live there, usually 11 months of the year. In other words, you rent it out on vacation.

        As for Schiller-Lavy, I hope they have been collecting GST/QST because they are subject to it. And that they have been issuing tax receipts. The city can charge them commercial property tax and the fine is instantly doubled. Incidentally, the $5K minimum is the first offence…. not repeated offence, it goes up each offence.

        Here is the stats….about 70% of all listings are in the category of likely illegal. And 41% are people with multiple listings…. these are most likely the people running illegal underground and untaxed hotels that cost the city, the province and the federal government tax revenues. Take a look at https://www.airbnb.ca/users/show/72761895?locale=en for example…. that’s 67 individual apartments they are renting on AirBnB. And remember that these cost YOU money, because if they aren’t paying their fair share of income tax…. you have to make up for it with your taxes.

      • Blork 16:02 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

        Regarding the Shiller Lavy connection, my understanding is that SL owns the building, and they rent it to some guy who rents dozens of properties around the city and uses them all for Airbnb. I have that info second-hand but I’m fairly confident it’s accurate. In that case it isn’t SL who is culpable, but his renter (although I’m sure SL has full knowledge of the nature of the rentals).

      • Ephraim 18:27 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

        You should see some of the discussions these AirBnB people have… like asking if they should bother changing sheets between guests, how to deal with guests who have sex, or people using the apartments for escorts. And a discussion about Montreal and shills renting with stock images and multiple accounts to avoid taxes and the law. And some of the reviews on other sites where they talk about being shuttled to further and further places and cancelling people to drive up the prices, etc.

    • Kate 07:51 on 2019-07-18 Permalink | Reply  

      Shots were fired on a car in Montreal North Wednesday evening, but the driver escaped injury.

      • Kate 07:44 on 2019-07-18 Permalink | Reply  

        The city inspector general has to defend the city’s right to blacklist a supplier for playing games with its invoicing. One contractor has taken umbrage at being excluded from contracts for five years and is taking the city to court.

        Only yesterday, the Journal reported on a business being put on a “gray list” excluding them for two years, in this case for unsatisfactory goods and delays in providing uniform pants for the SPVM.

        • Ian 10:35 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

          To be fair there’s always the possibility that somebody is getting paid off to put a rival on the blacklist…

      • Kate 07:26 on 2019-07-18 Permalink | Reply  

        A new condo building in Old Montreal is doing urban agriculture on the roof, and the same developer is working on a temporary garden near Jacques-Cartier bridge. Greenwashing? Maybe, but the plants are real.

        • Faiz Imam 15:34 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

          Architecture and design itself is to a large extent insubstantial veneers to what is a pretty generic structure underneath. But sustainability has been a strong ideal for quite a few years now, it doesn’t surprise me that all buildings at least check a few of the basic green boxes.

          Land use aside, the only aspect that I find really important is to havr more wood frame skyscrapers. The tech is solid and some pretty huge buildings are being built elsewhere in the world. We have the cheap wood to do it and the savings vs steel and concrete are huge.

        • Chris 17:02 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

          Concrete is also very CO2 intensive.

          Does this new building forgoe parking? That would be much greener!

        • Faiz Imam 19:08 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

          Well, here is the website of the project: http://le21e.prevel.ca/en/specifications.php

          I don’t see any mention of parking anywhere, and they focus a ton of the quality of the surrounding area, so I would lean towards saying there is no parking?

          But I can’t say so positively.

      • Kate 07:11 on 2019-07-18 Permalink | Reply  

        A heat wave is on its way for the weekend, with heat warnings already in place. Traffic warnings for the weekend are already going up.

        • Jonathan 14:42 on 2019-07-18 Permalink

          Technically there is no heatwave coming. Just warm weather. I’m quite glad I’ve converted most of all the hard surfaces around my house into garden and vegetation. Makes a huge difference from last year. Now I’d only they planted more vegetation in the streets….

        • Kate 06:48 on 2019-07-19 Permalink

          Various media are predicting a few days of high temperatures if not a full scale heat wave, Jonathan, and there’s a warning on the government weather page.

        • Michael Black 09:17 on 2019-07-19 Permalink

          Yes, technically a heat wave is well defined. But things can be bad before they get really bad. Cities hsve gotten flwck for not acting sooner, sonthere may be a shift. I can live some days if hot weather, but I tend to seek out places with air conditioning on the really hot days. IfbI was normally less mobile, I’d appreciate closer “cooling stations” and keeping pools open longer during hot weather just makes sense.

          Here at rehab next to MLK Park, we are surrounded by a lot of greenery, so tye heat seems distant. Thiugh I was out on an appointment in Wednesday, and the humidjty hit me. The staff did make sure we got ice water yesterday, and there are posters up about surviving the heat, not a lot if “young” peoole here.

          Soon the hot will be gone, and we will wish it was here ratyer than the cold.


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