Montreal’s latest tactic in controlling Airbnb units? Cutting lock boxes that store keys

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The City of Montreal is cracking down on illegal Airbnb units by cutting the lock boxes that store keys for the short-term tenants.

The boxes can only be accessed by using the correct code. 

Airbnb landlords give their tenants the code so they can retrieve keys and other items. 

In an attempt to curb Airbnb enthusiasm, the city is now cutting lock boxes

Montreal’s blue-collar workers have been given the green light from city administrators to immediately saw off any lock boxes they come across, except for those in designated tourist areas. 

The home-sharing service has caused headaches for city officials.

Lock boxes are the latest innovation for Airbnb users.

“We’re seeing more and more of these lock boxes attached to public property,” said Alex Norris, a Plateau city councillor. “The reason that these operators of illegal, short-term tourist residents do this is because it makes it harder to associate [the home] with an individual address.”

Aside from city officials, residents have also had numerous complaints about Airbnb.

Oftentimes guests are loud and leave trash.

The app can also inadvertently promote criminal activity.

“Someone can create a fake account on Airbnb and it takes two seconds,” said Real Carbonneau, a Ville-Marie resident. “You can be a prostitute or drug dealer, which happens a lot. That’s why it’s a problem.”

Some Airbnb hosts are fine with the city’s latest efforts and say that they will just move the location of their lock boxes.

“We could just remove it and put it on private property,” said Layla, an Airbnb user in the McGill Ghetto. “It was just easier for [renters] to find on public property.”

The city estimates that 8,000 units are being rented out on Airbnb in the downtown and Plateau area.

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