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Ontario: airbnb guests vs tenants and a leaky shower

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  • Sep 7th, 2016 4:25 pm
[OP]
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Jan 24, 2008
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Ontario: airbnb guests vs tenants and a leaky shower

Just a quick question. Imagine an airbnb host rents out an entire house to a guest. Now, a few days before check-in, the guest is informed that there might be something wrong with the shower, as it's leaking to the hallway below it. After trying to fix it, and on the day of check-in, it becomes clear that the issue might be bigger. Next day, upon further investigation, it's revealed that the issue is indeed bigger. The shower cannot be used until fixed, which is a 5-7 days work as it'll have to be gutted and re-done (even though the shower and the whole bathroom is brand new, but apparently the subcontractor who built it screwed up the membrane or something). There is another shower, but it's inconveniently located in the basement. But basically, when the airbnb guests agreed to rent the house, it had two showers. Now, the main one is out of commission.

The Ontario Landlord and Tenants Act is quite clear: they don't interfere in the nitty-gritty details. If a tenant feels they have the right to some sort of compensation, and the landlord refuses it, then they can take their case to the tribunal/hearing. Also, if construction work starts and it's very noisy and messy and invasive, to the point that the tenants may feel they have to temporarily move somewhere else, then the tenants can ask for their hotel or whatever arrangement they have made to be paid by the landlord, but again the landlord can refuse and the board will then hear their case.

My question is whether the same rules and laws apply to AirBnB guests or not. And would it matter if the airbnb guest was staying there for a week or for 2 months?
22 replies
Deal Guru
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Mar 23, 2008
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Just guessing here, but I'm thinking it would be handled as if you were taking a hotel room. Which would be negotiate a discount with the owner if you feel it's justified, or find another place. If you feel that you're owed more than offered, or out a substantial amount of money for finding a last minute room, Airbnb and small claims court would be your recourse.

The first item in the RTA Exemtions specifically excludes "tourist home, bed and breakfast vacation establishment or vacation home", so the renter would have no protection through that agency.

C
[OP]
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Jan 24, 2008
802 posts
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CNeufeld wrote: Just guessing here, but I'm thinking it would be handled as if you were taking a hotel room. Which would be negotiate a discount with the owner if you feel it's justified, or find another place. If you feel that you're owed more than offered, or out a substantial amount of money for finding a last minute room, Airbnb and small claims court would be your recourse.

The first item in the RTA Exemtions specifically excludes "tourist home, bed and breakfast vacation establishment or vacation home", so the renter would have no protection through that agency.

C
Would the length of stay make a difference? For example, an airbnb guest on vacation staying there for 1 week vs a family from the same city staying there for a month or two because their own home is temporarily unavailable?
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eednapes wrote:
CNeufeld wrote: Just guessing here, but I'm thinking it would be handled as if you were taking a hotel room. Which would be negotiate a discount with the owner if you feel it's justified, or find another place. If you feel that you're owed more than offered, or out a substantial amount of money for finding a last minute room, Airbnb and small claims court would be your recourse.

The first item in the RTA Exemtions specifically excludes "tourist home, bed and breakfast vacation establishment or vacation home", so the renter would have no protection through that agency.

C
Would the length of stay make a difference? For example, an airbnb guest on vacation staying there for 1 week vs a family from the same city staying there for a month or two because their own home is temporarily unavailable?
I suspect not, but I also suspect the nice people at the Landlord Tenant Board can tell you that quickly and accurately. But just because that family checks into a hotel, they're not magically covered by the RTA. So I don't think the intention of their stay would matter in your case either. The exclusion is not based on the renter's intention, but rather the living accommodation provider's intention. Check out the RTA itself. Google is your friend.

C
Last edited by CNeufeld on Sep 6th, 2016 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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i doubt the landlord tenant act covers airbnb rentals. IF its a tenancy with a lease then yes its covered by the LTA. Also landlords are allowed to make repairs and are even expected to do so, tenants are not covered for the inconvenience of repairs cropping up and being done unless the landlord is being unreasonable or purposely interfering with the tenant' s enjoyment of the property. If this was a regular tenancy and this came up, the landlord is expected to fix it in a timely manner. This is whats occurring, so the tenant gets nothing. That said the LTB enjoys punishing landlords but a real tenant would still have trouble getting anything on this one, a problem is identified and the repair time does accurately reflect the severity of the repair work to be done. If you took 6 months to fix this with constant everyday construction then the tenant would tear you a new one at a hearing.
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I worked at a hotel, and during busiest times, we were unable to move our largest rooms around because they were our most sought after rooms, and were often booked solid.

When we had issues with these rooms, and we couldn't move the family, we would either work around their schedule (it was a ski resort, so conveniently we would get 5-7 hours per day where they weren't home), or we would offer them the opportunity to either get out of the booking for free, or a discount that we would agree on for the inconvenience.

We never had an impossible to accommodate problem, and since you say this place has an auxiliary shower facility, it seems like a hefty discount would probably appease these people.

I wonder if there exists a bandaid you could implement while the family is in the unit? Like, cut open the drywall and wrap the pipe in fibreglass, or heavily caulk the edge, or whatever ... no need to fix the drywall, just screw some paneling over it until they leave.
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Jul 3, 2011
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The RTA does not apply.

yours is a business contract, if you can't deliver what was promised then you can offer a discount. The guests have a right to rescind the contract.
[OP]
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Jan 24, 2008
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Thanks. Very helpful comments.

I don't run a hotel though, so I can't offer them a big discount unless there's construction work and their stay is really interrupted by that work. I was thinking that perhaps I'll just fix the shower after they leave if they agree to use the basement shower for the rest of your stay. That way, they will avoid being disrupted for a week by Construction and I can fix the issue once the house is empty. For such an arrangement, I was thinking of a 10% discount. It doesn't seem like much, but they're still able to use all of the house save for that one bathroom. I might be biased but I think it's fair.

As for doing a quick fix, the shower is completely tiled so it's a bit trickier than drywall. I finally got a hold of the subcontractor who installed the shower. They're going to come and take a look. Maybe they can temporarily stop the issue from happening with some caulking.
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10% would be the minimum, but it doesn't hurt offer it. Don't be surprised if they're not happy and want 20-25%.
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Btw. If I was you, I'd be talking to Airbnb.

C
[OP]
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jabela wrote: 10% would be the minimum, but it doesn't hurt offer it. Don't be surprised if they're not happy and want 20-25%.
I was thinking about what is the appropriate %. Because it's a month+ long rent, I already provided close to 30% discount on the regular rate. Now, the shower is not working, but there's another shower, placed inconveniently in the basement. The real question is, what is that inconvenience worth? The shower represents less than 10% of the house in terms of size and probably 10% or less of the family's use of the house. So I thought 10% seems logical. But again, I'm biased.
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eednapes wrote:
jabela wrote: 10% would be the minimum, but it doesn't hurt offer it. Don't be surprised if they're not happy and want 20-25%.
I was thinking about what is the appropriate %. Because it's a month+ long rent, I already provided close to 30% discount on the regular rate. Now, the shower is not working, but there's another shower, placed inconveniently in the basement. The real question is, what is that inconvenience worth? The shower represents less than 10% of the house in terms of size and probably 10% or less of the family's use of the house. So I thought 10% seems logical. But again, I'm biased.
Your a worrier aren't ya. This is small potatoes, give a 10% discount, apologize and life goes on.
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburders eat people
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Quentin5 wrote:
eednapes wrote:
jabela wrote: 10% would be the minimum, but it doesn't hurt offer it. Don't be surprised if they're not happy and want 20-25%.
I was thinking about what is the appropriate %. Because it's a month+ long rent, I already provided close to 30% discount on the regular rate. Now, the shower is not working, but there's another shower, placed inconveniently in the basement. The real question is, what is that inconvenience worth? The shower represents less than 10% of the house in terms of size and probably 10% or less of the family's use of the house. So I thought 10% seems logical. But again, I'm biased.
Your a worrier aren't ya. This is small potatoes, give a 10% discount, apologize and life goes on.
Except the clients can file a dispute with Airbnb, and "force" a resolution through them. As well as provide negative feedback, I'm assuming. Which is why I'm recommending talking to Airbnb to find out what they suggest first.

C
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CNeufeld wrote:
Quentin5 wrote:
eednapes wrote:

I was thinking about what is the appropriate %. Because it's a month+ long rent, I already provided close to 30% discount on the regular rate. Now, the shower is not working, but there's another shower, placed inconveniently in the basement. The real question is, what is that inconvenience worth? The shower represents less than 10% of the house in terms of size and probably 10% or less of the family's use of the house. So I thought 10% seems logical. But again, I'm biased.
Your a worrier aren't ya. This is small potatoes, give a 10% discount, apologize and life goes on.
Except the clients can file a dispute with Airbnb, and "force" a resolution through them. As well as provide negative feedback, I'm assuming. Which is why I'm recommending talking to Airbnb to find out what they suggest first.

C
Fair enough, but its unlikely a leaking appliance is so unusual there is no precedent in handling such an occurrence
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburders eat people
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Quentin5 wrote:
CNeufeld wrote:
Quentin5 wrote:

Your a worrier aren't ya. This is small potatoes, give a 10% discount, apologize and life goes on.
Except the clients can file a dispute with Airbnb, and "force" a resolution through them. As well as provide negative feedback, I'm assuming. Which is why I'm recommending talking to Airbnb to find out what they suggest first.

C
Fair enough, but its unlikely a leaking appliance is so unusual there is no precedent in handling such an occurrence
And they would know what the precedent is. Rather than the home owner making up what he thinks is fair.

C

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