Airbnb soon allowed in almost all main residences in Quebec

As of March 25, almost all Quebecers will be able to rent their homes to tourists under a new law that is going better than expected in the municipal world.

We will remember that in the fall of 2020, Quebec municipalities were hard pressed on the issue. With Bill 67, the Legault government was preparing to authorize all residents of Quebec to rent their main residence on platforms like Airbnb for a maximum period of 30 days.

The text of the law was “an attack on municipal powers in land use planning”, including zoning regulations, denounced at the time the president of the Union of Municipalities of Quebec (UMQ), Suzanne Roy, now minister at the within the Legault government. In order to calm things down, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Andrée Laforest, had allowed cities to adopt a regulation limiting this right to certain areas. They had until March 25, 2023 to act.

However, as the said date approaches, it is clear that only a minority of the 1,130 municipalities in Quebec have done so.

This is surprising to the municipal lobbies who have fought to obtain this right. “I know, it's not a lot,” noted in an interview the mayor of Saint-Donat, Joé Deslauriers, who is leading the file at the UMQ. “If cities don't do anything by March 25, [tourist rental] of primary residences, it's allowed de facto. Concerned by the situation, the association has also multiplied communications in recent months to remind its members of the deadline.

“There may be municipalities that have never had a problem with short-term rentals,” said the president of the Quebec Federation of Municipalities, Jacques Demers.

Impossible to know exactly how many cities have legislated on the matter. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs does not keep track of data on the subject; neither do municipal groups.

Verification made, several large cities — Montreal, Quebec, Gatineau, Lévis — have not adopted any bylaws to this effect. In the course of its research, Le Devoirhas however identified a few places, almost all in tourist areas: Orford, Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley, Bromont, Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Beaupré, Ogden, Magog…

Maintaining the status quo

In Magog, “it responded to a request from the citizens”, maintains the mayor, Nathalie Demers. “We are a city where tourist accommodation is still quite attractive, with lakeshores and all that. »

Even before the government legislated, the City had limited the possibility of using Airbnb and other platforms to certain areas. The new regulation was therefore intended to ensure that the new law did not invalidate the old one.

As required by procedure, the City submitted its bylaw to a registry in January. However, the citizens did not come in large enough numbers to justify holding a referendum. “There is only one zone – out of the 492 that we have – which wanted to have the right to do [tourist accommodation]. Elsewhere, it's the status quo, “explains the mayor.

This counter-intuitive exercise has caused a lot of confusion among the population, she notes. “Usually people mobilize, because they don't want change. The register, you usually come to sign it because you are against [a project]. […] It was quite a communication challenge. »

The municipality of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, at the base of Mont Sainte-Anne, also adopted a regulation at the start of the year. “Short-term rental is a problem that we have known for a long time,” says its general manager, François Drouin. “As long as the neighbors change every weekend or regularly, there are inconveniences. Then the neighbor who caused the trouble, we hear about it on Monday, but he left on Sunday evening. »

The regulations of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges only allow the rental of a residence in certain places known to be more touristic. “In areas where it was already allowed, we kept it. However, it is prohibited elsewhere in the territory. »

A decision that did not make everyone happy. Hans Moreau, who has lived in the municipality for almost 15 years, said he fell out of his chair when he discovered that the new bylaw would deprive him of a potential source of income. “I've been working on my house for a long time and it was in my plans to rent it out. […] It’s just extra income that would be used to pay for vacations, ”explains the father of five children.

Mr. Moreau criticizes the municipality for not having properly informed the population of the consultation on the by-law. “In Magog, there were beautiful, very clear press releases. We, there was no communication in the newspaper. Yet it was an important regulation that affected a lot of people, ”he laments. He calls himself the victim of “social injustice”. “It means that people like me will not have access to small extra income. But also, it influences the value of my house.

The city manager defends himself by saying that people who provide commercial tourist accommodation also complain about competition from the short-term rental of main residences.

As for whether the population was able to understand the process, Mr. Drouin puts things into perspective. “It is certain that all the regulatory changes that affect uses on the territory, it is complicated. Then it's not necessarily something that is simple for citizens… But it's not unique to this situation. »

All that for that

However, if for Mr. Moreau the entry into force of the law has a significant impact, several observers believe that not much will happen on March 25. For what ? Because the pressure from the Airbnbs of this world comes mostly from second homes, not primary homes.

In a city like Saint-Donat, for example, main residences account for a tiny part of the housing stock, underlines its mayor. The City has also taken advantage of the approaching deadline of March 25, 2023 to consult its population on the framework for short-term rentals in general, including that of chalets and other tourist residences.


Guillaume Lavoie, a consultant specializing in the so-called “sharing economy”, led the working group that recommended that the Legault government legislate on the issue. Three years later, he sees in the timid reaction of the municipalities proof that this reform probably had its raison d'être. “You could assume that the Quebec regulations solve a lot of problems,” he says.

“The reason the government did this is that there is no distinction between primary and secondary residence in municipal zoning. And the distinction is crucial, he says, since, unlike others, people who sometimes rent their own roofs do not reduce the supply of housing.

“The big problem is the residences secondary, when people use them — especially in an urban setting — for short-term rentals. There, the cities have the right to say whether they want it or not. »

Requirements for the tourist rental of a main residence

Check with your municipality that zoning and local regulations allow it. Register with the Quebec Ministry of Tourism, for $50. Produce proof of civil liability insurance of at least two million dollars.

After two violations of municipal by-laws (on nuisances or sanitation, for example) during the same year, the City may request and obtain from the Ministry the suspension of your registration.

Source: Tourisme Québec