Vancouver strata president busts illegal Airbnb by renting condo unit, owner fined over $46,000

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      A Vancouver condo owner was found to have repeatedly violated her strata’s bylaws by using her unit for short-term rentals.

      For these offences, Suqian Zhang was ordered by a B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal to pay a total of $46,400.77 in fines.

      The evidence against Zhang included a September 2018 booking of her unit by the strata president at the time.

      The strata corporation does not allow short-term rental accommodations.

      In her reasons for decision, tribunal member Julie K. Gibson related that the strata president, who was identified only as SN, booked an overnight stay at Zhang’s unit.

      SN made the booking through Airbnb, and the owner’s profile on the online rental service was called ‘Nana C’.

      “I find that this AirBnB profile was operated by the owner,” Gibson wrote.

      Gibson also noted that the Nana C profile included a section titled ‘Rules’, in which the owner advised guests to be “discrete”.

      “Vancouver Airbnb apartment is still in a gray area, you will see signs says ‘No Airbnb’. Please be discrete, thank you! If you don’t feel comfortable, please cancel your reservation,” Gibson quoted from the rules written by Zhang.

      SN paid $563.62 for a one-night stay.

      “SN took several photographs of the suite’s interior, which show it was set up for short term stays rather than longer term occupancy,” Gibson wrote.

      Gibson made this finding “because the closets, nightstands and shelves in the unit appear empty except for paper products and bed and bath linens”.

      SN also recorded licensed plates of more than 60 different vehicles parked at Zhang’s parking spot between April 2018 and July 1, 2019.

      Gibson said the number of different cars recorded to have parked at Zhang’s stall “over the time period is significant”.

      According to Gibson, this is “inconsistent” with Zhang’s claim that there are “occasional guests”.

      Zhang has claimed that only three tenants occupied her condo, “all for periods of more than 30 days”.

      “The owner says that she allowed her brother, his friend and her realtor to caretake the unit while she was out of the country,” Gibson wrote.

      The strata corporation does not allow rentals of less than 30 days.

      Gibson ruled that the owner breached the strata’s short-term accommodation bylaws on “at least 50 occasions” between 2018 and 2019.

      The strata sought a tribunal order for Zhang to pay $45,500 in bylaw fines, and this was granted by Gibson.

      The tribunal member also ordered Zhang to pay pre-judgement interest of $675.77, and $225 in tribunal fees.