The lawyer Myriam Asselin, here in the company of François-Xavier Ratté, believes that the judge of the municipal court erred in ruling that the City could govern an offer of rental on Airbnb.
16 January 2020 20h35
Updated at 23h02
The owners Airbnb in superior Court
The owners Airbnb who failed to contest their fines at the municipal court of Quebec have brought together new allies and prepare their response before the superior Court.
The lawyer of the owners, Me Myriam Asselin, filed this week a notice of appeal in the superior Court to contest the culpability of Francois-Xavier Ratté, who owned a building on the rue Hermine, in the district of Saint-Sauveur, and had received a ticket for having rented out illegally in an apartment to tourists on January 29, 2018.
The City of Quebec was accepted that the fate of this offense is applicable to two other people and two companies that challenged all 18 tickets. But the group of owners, suffered a setback in the municipal court on December 11.
Since then, two other owners of the community Airbnb Quebec have raised their hand to contribute to the cost of a lawyer to go to appeal. And other potential allies have shown interest to participate financially, says the defendant, Francis Ratté.
“The City should not have the right to regulate our activities on the Internet,” he says.
Up to now, the group of owners has paid more in legal fees than the amount of citations it received (about $ 22,000 total) in the City of Quebec. But the owners have decided to continue the protest, because it could have implications on future rentals Airbnb in Quebec city, said Mr. Ratté.
Their new allies have not received their tickets themselves, but they also rent on Airbnb. “They found that it was common sense what we’re doing,” said François-Xavier Ratté.
On 11 December, the judge Sabrina Large, of the municipal court of Quebec, said Mr. Ratté guilty of having rented out illegally in a housing to tourists, while zoning prohibited. She has rejected his main argument, namely that an offer to lease is not to say that tourists have actually made use of the apartment.
The judge General estimated that in offering his property for rental to tourists, Mr. Ratté, was looking to hire, “there is no doubt in the mind of the Court,” she wrote in her judgment.
Me Myriam Asselin, who represents Francis Ratté, believes that the judge of the municipal court erred. “The judgment of first instance, is grounded in errors of law. […] The main really is the fact that it has qualified the offer of rental as a use which may be governed by the municipality”, said the lawyer.
A pre-hearing conference is scheduled on 22 January by the superior Court, which should then fix a date for trial.