European family moves to Toronto in long-term Airbnb. A 'loophole' got them an eviction notice midway
For a Switzerland professor contracted to work in Ontario for a year, Airbnb looked like the right option for a family of five.
Tianning Ning’s husband was hired as a visiting professor at York University, and she said it took a while to find the right place to stay – especially since they hadn’t built up Canadian credit scores and couldn’t break into the traditional rental market.
Ning said she found a long-term stay in the Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue area on Airbnb that seemed to fit the bill of what they were looking for, as it was fully furnished and close to good schools for her children.
After feeling confident about the home and the host – who Ning said was very helpful at the start – they worked out an agreement and booked a 10-month stay through Airbnb up until the end of June 2023 for $5,150 per month, before tax.
She said they moved in on Aug. 23, but on Jan. 2, they were hit with an eviction notice.
In screenshots of WhatsApp messages, viewed by CTV News Toronto, the notice said they needed to leave by Jan. 31 as the landlord needed to move back into the property with their family.
“I’m extremely angry, and still today, extremely angry. I don’t agree. We didn’t do anything wrong,” Ning said.
As per Airbnb’s guidelines, long-term guests may be able to establish rights as a tenant after a month of staying there.
“Generally, this means that local tenancy laws could protect them, and [the host] may not be able to remove them from [their] property without proceeding through required processes in court,” Airbnb’s website reads.
In Toronto, however, there are regulations for short-term rentals of less than 28 days, but not for stays that are longer than that, meaning there are fewer legal protections for those that rent for longer than a month from third-party companies like Airbnb.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act, landlords are required to provide notice at least 60 days before the termination date, which Ning said was not done in this case.
A spokesperson for Airbnb told CTV News Toronto that cancellations like Ning’s are “rare.”
“When they do happen, we’re committed to supporting them. Our customer service team is in contact with this guest providing ongoing support, including rebooking,” the statement said.
According to the company, the host had cited the alteration of the long-term stay due to personal reasons and deactivated the listing.
In a screen-recorded video Ning captured, and obtained by CTV News Toronto, the listing had gone back up but at double the cost, though the company denies that.
CTV News Toronto repeatedly tried emailing the landlord but did not receive a response.
On Jan. 31, when Ning was supposed to be evicted, Fairbnb Canada Network, an organization seeking fair regulations for short-term rental companies, held a news conference where they not only touched on what has been happening with Ning’s family, but also a potentially larger problem for Toronto at hand.
An image of Tianning Ning inside of the Airbnb rental unit. (Courtesy of Tianning Ning)
SHORT-TERM RENTAL RULES
“In Toronto, we’re increasingly seeing Airbnb hosts use the platform in this way, bypassing the city’s short-term rental bylaws for listings of less than 28 days, on the one hand, and attempting to dodge their obligations under provincial tenancy laws on the other,” Thorben Wiedtz, director of Fairbnb, said in a release.
In 2021, the City of Toronto updated its short-term rental rules, making it so that listings must be registered and be principal residences. Listings that are rented for more than 28 days are exempt from this by-law.
“For us, that was a great moment, and we were hoping to see that Airbnb would literally deactivate or delete tens of thousands of listings that were illegal under the new bylaw,” Wiedtz told CTV News Toronto.
“But much of what we saw was completely different. We looked at the data, we scraped Airbnb’s data, just before the rules were implemented and a few days after, and we saw that Airbnb had created a new category called long-term rentals of 28 days or more [..] That was a new category [that] created some new questions for us.”
“We’ve raised this issue with the city. The city’s planning and housing committee passed a motion in March of 2022 to the director of municipal licensing and standards to explore this new category, and see what is up with this loophole, and whether it needs to be addressed by the city,” Wiedtz continued, noting the report was scheduled to be published by that following April.
A spokesperson for Airbnb told CTV News Toronto its long-term stays represent “a very small fraction” of its listings.
“These stays provide guests – from travelling health care professionals to new residents looking for a permanent home – the flexibility to experience Toronto, and it’s unfortunate to see groups with hotel ties manipulate facts to attack our Host community,” an Airbnb spokesperson said.
Toronto city councillor Paula Fletcher noted in a news release on Jan. 31 that out of the 17,000 listings listed on Airbnb, more than 12,000 of them are for properties listed for more than 28 days.
“That way, Airbnb hosts avoid registering with the city and landlords appear to use this housing stock as month-to-month rentals. There is a false belief that attracting tenants through Airbnb allows landlords to evict tenants more easily. We need to ensure the 12K ‘long-term’ units sitting on Airbnb are not dodging municipal regulations or provincial laws in an affordable housing crisis,” Fletcher said.
A spokesperson for the City of Toronto said staff is aware of the roughly 12,000 Airbnb listings, and that they will be researching the impact of the medium-term market.
The city said since it does not regulate long-term rentals of 28 days or longer – and does not receive data on stays or transactions for those types of listings – it would need more time to research and collect data to fully understand the extent of its market.
Ontario NDP MPP Jessica Bell also penned a letter on Jan. 31 to ministers Steve Clark and Doug Downey, asking them to “crackdown on illegal short-term rentals.”
“Toronto has long been a battleground between investors who want to make a lot of money and renters who just want a home,” Bell wrote.
“I believe many of these short-term rentals in investment properties are violating the provincial Residential Tenancies Act. To rent these properties, a tenant does not sign the standard Ontario lease, which is required by law. [..] A landlord can’t just pressure a tenant to sign a questionable contract and wash their hands clean from provincial rental laws.”
The Short-Term Rental Update report, originally expected to come out in April 2022, will now be published by the end of the year, the city said.
Ning says she has asked the Airbnb host to provide them with an N12 form from the Landlord and Tenant Board, which is what landlords are required to use when ending their tenancy agreement if their family member requires the rental unit. But Ning says she has not heard back.
“We will defend our rights. We will follow what is possible within the law,” Ning said.
For now, Ning and her family will continue to stay at the home.
Toronto Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Military under fire as thousands of troops face lost cost-of-living allowance
The Canadian Armed Forces is under fire for its plan to cut thousands of troops off a cost-of-living allowance without much notice.
Twitter: Parts of source code leaked online
Some parts of Twitter's source code -- the fundamental computer code on which the social network runs -- were leaked online, the social media company said in a legal filing on Sunday.
Court hearing for Prince Harry and Elton John's privacy case against U.K. publisher
The first hearing in a lawsuit brought by Prince Harry, singer Elton John and other high profile figures against the publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper over alleged phone-tapping and other breaches of privacy, is due to begin on Monday.
South Korea says North Korea test-fired another missile
South Korea's military says it detected North Korea firing at least one ballistic missile toward the sea off its eastern coast, adding to a recent flurry in weapons tests as the United States steps up its military exercises with the South to counter the North's growing threat.
Netanyahu fires defence minister for urging halt to overhaul
Tens of thousands of Israelis poured into the streets of cities across the country on Sunday night in a spontaneous outburst of anger after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly fired his defence minister for challenging the Israeli leader's judicial overhaul plan.
Is 'David' porn? See for yourself, Italians ask Florida parents
The Florence museum housing Michelangelo's Renaissance masterpiece the 'David' invited parents and students from a Florida charter school to visit after complaints about a lesson featuring the statue forced the principal to resign.
Singh 'not satisfied' with confidence-and-supply agreement
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he's 'not satisfied' with his party's confidence-and-supply agreement with the Liberals — signed a year ago this week — because it's shown him he could do a better job running the country than the current government.
Ancient Egypt excavation uncovers 2,000 mummified ram heads at Abydos
At least 2,000 mummified ram heads dating from the Ptolemaic period and a palatial Old Kingdom structure have been uncovered at the temple of Ramses II in the ancient city of Abydos in southern Egypt, antiquities officials said on Saturday.
Ukraine demands emergency UN meeting over Putin nuclear plan
Ukraine's government on Sunday called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to 'counter the Kremlin's nuclear blackmail' after Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed plans to station tactical atomic weapons in Belarus. One Ukrainian official said that Russia 'took Belarus as a nuclear hostage.'
Montreal police confirm fifth body found in rubble of historic building fire
Montreal police say a fifth body has been extracted from the rubble of a heritage building that caught fire nine days ago, leaving two others still missing.
Nine-year-old girl succumbs to injuries after snow fort accident
A nine-year-old girl has died after a snow fort collapsed Sunday in the woods behind a Saint-Ubalde home, in the Portneuf RCM.
Veteran bodybuilder Roy Callender combines personal fitness and AI in workout app
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Roy Callender was at the top of the bodybuilding world. Now, at 78, he's taking on a new challenge: he's the cofounder of RC3, a fitness app that uses AI to give feedback on your workout.
London police investigating 'suspicious death'
NEW I Police in London, Ont. have launched an investigation following the discovery of a deceased man in the south end of the city on Saturday afternoon.
2 dogs rescued, tenants briefly displaced after early morning apartment fire
Residents of a central London, Ont. apartment were temporarily displaced from their units and were kept warm inside a city bus after a fire broke out early Sunday morning.
London Knights' coach sees milestone victory
Saturday night was a milestone victory for London Knights' Coach Dale Hunter. The Knights' 6-3 win over the Windsor Spitfires was Hunter’s 900th career win as an Ontario Hockey League coach.
Man charged with attempted murder in Cambridge
A 49-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder and assault with a weapon in connection to injuries suffered by a 50-year-old woman in Cambridge.
'I’ve really had to adjust': How one small Waterloo region business is fighting inflation and fear of a recession
Worries of a recession in 2023 got another jolt this weekend with former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz warning the country’s economy is at a greater risk of a “hard landing” – a rapid economic slowdown following a period of growth and approaching a recession. For small businesses, it's a prediction that brings concern.
Top snowmobilers compete in Kitchener
Winter may be over, but there was still snow on the ground for hundreds of highflying snowmobilers at Chicopee Ski Resort this weekend.
Northern resources, the highlight of Ontario’s budget
Continuing to put the region's critical mineral supply in the spotlight, northern Ontario and its critical mineral deposits are front and centre in the provincial government's 2023 budget.
Risk of a hard landing for Canadian economy is up, former Bank of Canada governor says
Former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz says Canada’s economy is at a greater risk of a 'hard landing' — a rapid economic slowdown following a period of growth and approaching a recession.
Hwy. 17 partially closed north of the Sault due to a commercial motor vehicle crash
A crash involving a commercial vehicle north of the Sault has completely closed Highway 17 from Highway 101 East in Wawa, Ont. to Frater Road before noon Sunday, the eastbound lane reopened around 7p.m.
One person dead after fire in Hull apartment that lacked working smoke alarms
Gatineau firefighters are reminding residents about the importance of smoke detectors after a fatal fire in the Hull sector early Sunday morning.
Here's a look at eight things that will cost more in Ottawa starting April 1
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at eight things that will cost you more in Ottawa starting April 1.
Talks continue ahead of strike deadline for education workers at Carleton University
The union representing contract instructors and graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants is threatening to go on strike Monday if a deal is not reached with Carleton University.
Vehicle catches fire on E.C. Row in Windsor
Emergency responders attended the scene of a vehicle fire in Windsor, Ont. Sunday afternoon.
Christopoulos misses out on 50-goal milestone, Spitfires look ahead to playoffs
It was a bittersweet moment for the Windsor Spitfires on Saturday as the team looks ahead to the playoffs, but forward Alex Christopoulos fell short in his objective to reach 50 goals in a single OHL season.
A man who police say violated his bail condition found with dagger
A man has been arrested by Chatham-Kent police for allegedly violating his bail.
Hospice Muskoka left without funding in Provincial budget
Hospice Muskoka is pleading for help after being left without additional funding for palliative care beds by the Provincial government.
Story Book Park Road closed in Meaford, Ont. for death investigation
Grey Bruce OPP have closed a section of Story Book Park Road in Meaford, Ont. for a death investigation.
Driver charged with impaired after crashing through fence in Gravenhurst, Ont.
A Gravenhurst, Ont. man is facing impaired driving charges after a vehicle crashed into a fence early Sunday morning.
Messy mix of snow, ice pellets and rain Sunday into Monday
A low-pressure system moving up the coastline of Maine will cross Nova Scotia Sunday into early Monday morning, bringing a mix of snow, ice pellets and rain.
Emergency alert issued for woman with handgun in Indian Brook, N.S.: RCMP
RCMP in Nova Scotia have issued an emergency alert to warn the public of what they call “a dangerous female with a handgun” in Indian Brook.
HMCS Montreal departs Halifax for Indo-Pacific operation
A Royal Canadian Navy frigate departed Halifax today as part of the federal government's wider strategy of boosting its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Big final weekend for amateur boxers, sledge hockey players in Calgary
The Calgary Scorpions sledge hockey team were victorious in their gold medal match against Team BC at the Western Canadian Sledge Hockey Tournament with a 4-0 win at Winsport Sunday.
Calgary's Buffalo Wild Wings locations shut their doors
Right in the middle of March Madness, Buffalo Wild Wings shuttered its doors Sunday.
KLM flight en route to Calgary following detour back to Amsterdam due to unruly passenger
A KLM flight bound for Calgary was delayed Sunday morning when an unruly passenger forced the airline to return to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
'The next generation of climate champions': Conservation-centered spring break activities inspiring youth
School might be out for spring break for many Manitoba students, but that isn't stopping them from learning about important climate issues.
Manitoba Green Party chooses new leader
The Green Party of Manitoba (GPM) has elected a new leader.
‘When are we going to see action?’ The changes needed for Manitoba’s cannabis rules
Nearly five years after the legalization of marijuana in Canada, one local cannabis retailer feels Manitoba should be more proactive and flexible when it comes to regulating pot sales in our province.
Nanny who was fired after cancer diagnosis awarded $45K in B.C. discrimination case
A temporary foreign worker from the Philippines who was fired from her job as a caregiver after a cancer diagnosis has been awarded over $45,000 by the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
Downtown Eastside crash sends 3 pedestrians to hospital
Three people were hospitalized after being hit by a car in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Saturday evening, according to authorities.
2 seriously injured in 'targeted' Chilliwack shooting: RCMP
Two people were found with "multiple gunshot wounds" in Chilliwack Saturday, after a shooting police say may have been gang-related.
Fire damages storage building where non-profit that helps homeless Edmontonians stores its supplies
A fire damaged a storage building on 104 Street early Saturday morning. Water Warriors – a charity that hands out water, food and clothing – is worried its supplies were damaged.
What you need to know about the regimental funeral Monday
The procession is scheduled to leave the Alberta Legislature grounds toward Rogers Place at approximately 11:45 a.m.
Two-time organ recipient designs Green Shirt Day logo years after Humboldt bus crash
April 7 is Green Shirt Day, which also marks the anniversary of Logan Boulet's death. Boulet, who was involved in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash five years ago, signed up to be an organ donor just weeks before the crash. Today, Green Shirt Day is meant to promote organ donor awareness and registration across Canada.