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B.C. condo owner ordered to stop listing unit on Airbnb, fined $2K

Airbnb hosts who currently have indoor security cameras have until April 30 to remove them. (Lorenzo Di Cola / NurPhoto / Getty Images via CNN Newsource) Airbnb hosts who currently have indoor security cameras have until April 30 to remove them. (Lorenzo Di Cola / NurPhoto / Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

A condo owner in B.C. has been ordered to stop using her unit as a short-term rental and will have to pay $2,000 in fines for renting it out on Airbnb and Craigslist in the past.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal's decision was published Tuesday, representing a partial victory for the strata in the long-running dispute.

The strata was asking the tribunal to order the owner, Jessica Dexter, to pay $7,000 in fines accumulated for violating its bylaw against short-term rentals between 2018 and 2022. Dexter, for her part, said an order stopping her from advertising or using her unit as a short-term rental was unnecessary because she was no longer doing either of these things.

She also argued the fines were invalid because proper procedure was not followed when imposing them – which the tribunal agreed was the case in some instances.

The fact that there was a bylaw in place prohibiting short-term rentals was not in dispute.

In August of 2022, the strata first notified Dexter that it had been "brought to its attention" her unit was being advertised and used as an Airbnb, the decision said.

"The strata noted that a breach of (the) bylaw could be subject to a $1,000 fine for each contravention and asked for the owner’s cooperation in 'curbing this practice,'" tribunal member Nav Shukla wrote.

Six weeks later, the strata followed up with another letter saying it had found reviews on Airbnb from people who stayed in the condo on seven occasions between July of 2018 and June of 2022.

"The owner responded by email…saying that her home has been occupied by many friends and family members and is not on Airbnb," the decision said.

Two months after that, the strata sent another letter saying it had "received a complaint" that the unit was listed on Craigslist – which Dexter denied.

"Although the owner previously denied listing her home on Airbnb or Craigslist, in this dispute, she does not make the same denial," Shukla wrote.

"As noted above, in her dispute response, the owner says that she stopped advertising her home and took down the listing once the strata asked her to. "

Dexter's admission combined with screenshots from Airbnb and Craigslist were enough for the tribunal to find she had violated the bylaw.

However, only two of the seven fines were found to have been properly imposed. The strata updated its bylaws in April of 2022, meaning the fines for contraventions of previous iterations of the bylaw banning short-term rentals were not valid.

Ordering Dexter to stop violating the bylaw, the tribunal found, was appropriate in the circumstances.

"The owner says that she took down her listings after the strata told her to. However, the evidence shows reviews on (the condo's) Airbnb page from as late as July 2023, suggesting that the owner was still using (it) for short-term accommodations after the strata started this dispute, and may still be advertising or using (it) for short-term accommodations," Shukla wrote, concluding her decision.

In addition to the $2,000 in bylaw fines, Dexter was also ordered to pay $135.11 in pre-judgment interest and $112.50 in CRT fees. Top Stories

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