Montreal is enlisting citizens, municipal workers and the provincial Revenue Department in its fight against illegal apartment rentals that use online platforms such as Airbnb.
The city recently directed its employees to seek out and remove from public property small lock boxes that contain keys allowing short-term renters to enter apartments on their own.
Mayor Valerie Plante has asked residents to report any lock boxes they see attached to public property, such as parking meters and bicycle racks.
The city contends people who are illegally renting apartments are putting key boxes on public property as a way to fool inspectors and distance themselves from their activity. Under provincial rules, a license is required for short-term rentals of a secondary property.
Councillor Richard Ryan says popular neighbourhoods such as the Plateau-Mont-Royal and downtown have strictly limited short-term rentals since the summer in an effort to increase the availability of housing for citizens.
Ryan says the city is also calling on the Revenue Department to investigate residents suspected of illegal rentals.