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On February 27, 2020, the Alberta courts made a decision that prevents condominium owners from using their units as short-term rentals for websites like AirBnB & VRBO.

Owners who use those services to get short-term “renters” are considered the same as running a hotel.

Condominium’s that have bylaws that prohibit a unit’s use for commercial use are able to ensure owners cannot have short-term renters in their property in exchange for consideration.

Interested in reading the judgement? Click here.

This has been a long time coming, and from our perspective, this is a good thing! We’ve had many other-owner complaints and frustrated boards that were unable to do anything thing to prevent it.

The court also mentioned that it was not in the spirit of the condominium act, echoed by the sentiments of this quote:

Neighbours had complained about a constant stream of Airbnb guests coming and going, with one telling the court: “I did not agree to live in a hotel.”

Globe and Mail Article, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/alberta/article-alberta-court-rules-airbnb-rentals-are-like-hotels-makes-it-easier/

Judge Bezil, who ruled on the case, stated that allowing short-term rentals greatly impairs the condo boards ability to manage:

This would result in a small minority of unit owners unilaterally changing the character of the condominium regime, thus adversely affecting the majority of unit owners, without their consent.

Judge Bezil, https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/equivalent-of-a-hotel-stay-judge-backs-condo-board-in-banning-online-rentals

For a deeper legal discussion of the issue, there is a great analysis by the folks at svrlawyers.com https://www.svrlawyers.com/news-highlights-posts/2020/3/2/court-rules-condo-boards-can-ban-short-term-rentals

With the new Condominium Property Act phase 2 changes that started on Jan 1, 2020, there is a lot going on in the condo world!

Comment (1)

  • Karen Cooke Reply

    Thank you Peter Best for sharing this judgement. This is very helpful going forward. In 2019 We had one Unit Owner who advertised and used their Unit as AirBnB as well as Executive short term rentals. Although, I was suspicious, I couldn't prove it. We weren't even officially aware of it until one AirBnB renter had a party and things got out of hand. I personally followed it up with many of the surrounding residents, followed up with the City of Calgary, as well as checked online, and found both ads. I believe our Bylaws do state no commercial.

    March 10, 2020

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