CTV: Tenant fights eviction and wins

Megan Shaw, CTV Ottawa 

Video

A Centretown resident says her landlord attempted to evict her from her rental unit on Cooper St. alleging he wanted to turn it into an Airbnb.

Beverly Blanchard says she has been renting a one bedroom on Cooper St. for the last 33 years. 

In November of 2018, she says her landlord’s son showed up with a notice to terminate tenancy. That form indicated he intended to move into the unit. 

Beverly Blanchard says she has been renting a one bedroom on Cooper St. for the last 33 years.

“It felt like a rug had been kicked out from underneath me,” Blanchard said. 

Blanchard alleges the family that operates her building wants to turn the space into an Airbnb and rent it out on a short-term basis at a higher cost. 

Scott Lopes, the landlord’s son, admits four of the six units in the building are already available on Airbnb. 

Still, he maintains he wishes to occupy this particular unit after renovating it. 

“We’re absolutely not trying to turn in into an Airbnb,” Lopes said. 

“We are definitely trying to generate more income out of the existing rental properties we do have, but she just happens to live in the particular unit that I have been looking at moving into.” 

Housing advocates who are against Airbnb say the online hospitality service is changing the housing market in Ottawa. 

Thoben Wieditz from Fairbnb Canada says there are roughly 1000 units in Ottawa that could be on the market for renters but are being run as a hotel. 

“It has a dramatic impact on the ability for people to even be able to find a long term place for rent and then also drives up rents,” Wieditz said. 

In Blanchard’s case, she fought the eviction at the Landlord and Tenant Board. Blanchard says last week the board dismissed the notice to terminate her tenancy. She says the board found Lopes had other properties where he could live.

“She lives in the nicest unit in the oldest building in the nicest part of the city,” Lopes said, disappointed by the results. 

The city of Ottawa is conducting a study in short-term housing options, including Airbnb. 

The councillor for Centretown, Catherine McKenney, says regulating the service could be possible in the future given those results. 

Lopes says he doesn’t have an issue with regulation but says Airbnb is an emerging market and he doesn’t see it going away. 

In Ottawa, the current bylaw states short-term rental units must be owner-occupied. McKenney says that is difficult to manage. 

Air BNB officials have said in the past they are willing to work with the city of Ottawa on regulation.  

Catherine McKenney