The City of Vancouver says its landmark agreement with Airbnb is cracking down on thousands of rogue short term rental listings – but CTV News found several listings exploiting weaknesses in the system.

Some 2,400 listings have disappeared from short-term rental websites including Airbnb, a 47 per cent drop that the city interprets as a sign many of those who were not following the rules of their new licence system are shutting down.

However city numbers show there are 1,000 more active listings than licences – meaning the city and Airbnb have a long way to go.

“What we’ve been really focused on are the commercial operators,” said Vancouver’s Chief Licensing Inspector Kathryn Holm. “Where there is blatant misuse or misrepresentation or incorrect licence information we can escalate our enforcement to $1,000 per day or per platform.”

CTV News checked up on listings highlighted by online sleuths looking for rule breakers. At one house on 57th Avenue, the listing advertised itself as a “large family home used exclusively for Airbnb.”

This appears to break the city’s rules, which only allow people to list their primary residence, with the goal of cracking down on commercial operators who list suites that would otherwise go to renters facing a tough housing market in a crisis.

When CTV News reached the lister over the phone, he first denied the listing said that and then hung up. Within minutes, the listing had been taken down.

At another site on 50th Avenue, the lister appeared to have listed every room in the house as well as the house entirely. That appeared to violate another part of the rules: that each listing needs a unique city licence number.

A friend who translated for the landlord told us violating the rules wasn’t the landlord’s intention. “We can follow up with the city if that’s the case,” he said.

City council candidate Rohana Rezel told CTV News that those listings should never have made it on the Airbnb website in the first place.

He said he’d designed a computer program that could automatically check to see if a lister’s posted licence number was a fake, a duplicate, incorrect or invalid and alert Airbnb in real time, and it was showing a handful of new bogus listings each day.

Right now the city’s memorandum of understanding only requires Airbnb to take down listings without licence numbers, and can leave up licence numbers that have problems, he said.

“The way the memorandum of understanding is worded Airbnb has no obligation to do anything about the hosts,” he said. “The onus is on the city entirely.”

Airbnb spokesperson Lindsey Scully told CTV News that the short-term rental site was the only one so far to enter into an agreement with the city.

“The agreement that the city signed is for a one-time takedown of any listings without licence numbers, after which we share information with city officials that provides them with the tools to pursue enforcement. Going forward, you must have a licence number posted on your listing in order to short-term rent,” she said.

Airbnb will share information with the city going forward, she said, adding that other platforms should also work with the city.