B.C. landlord ordered to pay strata $15K after tenants rent condos on Airbnb | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. landlord ordered to pay strata $15K after tenants rent condos on Airbnb

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January 17, 2021 - 7:00 AM

A B.C. landlord has found himself on the hook for $15,000 in strata fines after his tenants rented out his condos on Airbnb.

The order is, however, a fraction of the $52,200 in fines the landlord got from the strata.

The strata took condo owner Abo Taheri to a Civil Resolution Tribunal in an effort to get him to pay $52,200 in fines.

The Jan. 12 decision says short-term vacation rentals were prohibited in the strata and Taheri had rented out two condos he owned to tenants who then sublet them on Airbnb in 2019.

Taheri, in turn, filed a counterclaim against the two tenants Lindy Chow and Rariq Kassam, and Kassam's company Canadian Nation Relocation. Taheri argued the tenants were responsible for the strata fines and not him.

However, the Tribunal disagreed.

According to the decision, Kassam was to sublet the condos under his business. The rental agreements did contain a clause requiring the tenant to use the suite as their personal residence.

The decision says neighbours began to get suspicious that the condos were being used as a vacation rental when guests kept arriving with suitcases. The strata then found ads on Airbnb and reviews from guests.

The strata then began sending fines to Taheri.

In the decision, Taheri argued he wasn't aware the suites were on Airbnb and the tenants should pay the fines.

However, the Tribunal says he must have been aware because of all the fines and notices the strata sent him, and lists emails he'd sent to Kassam about the fines.

"This shows Mr. Taheri knew of, and allowed, the (short term rental) to continue in his suites," the decision says.

The Tribunal found that because Taheri made no effort to stop his tenants from renting the suites, he was the one responsible for the fines, and not the tenants.

However, the Tribunal found that the strata couldn't prove all $52,2000 worth of bylaw infractions took place. The Strata only proved the suites were rented on Airbnb four times.

"I find the Airbnb reviews do not prove guests stayed in the suites at any particular time period," the decision reads. "On balance, I find the strata has failed to prove the remaining allegations (that the suites were rented multiple times)."

The Tribunal also dismissed Taheri's counterclaim against Kassam for $15,000.

"I further find that Mr. Kassam is not responsible for Mr. Taheri’s fines even though I accept he likely organized the (vacation rentals) in both suites... because I have found Mr. Taheri breached (the) bylaw," reads the decision.

However, Taheri did manage to claw back some cash. Because Chow didn't respond to his counterclaim she is assumed liable. The Tribunal ordered Chow to pay $11,000 to Taheri, plus $209 in fees.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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