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Twitter account targets illegal Airbnb rentals in Vancouver

The avatar-less account, VISTRO, has been tagging Airbnb units in hopes the City of Vancouver will act on the information. Peter Wagner

The Twitter account is posting links to the properties and tags the City of Vancouver to get their attention

They city says the best way to report the units is through 311

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) –  A new Twitter account is targeting illegal Airbnb rentals in Vancouver and reporting them to the city.

But is the city listening?

Kira Hutchinson with the City of Vancouver says they don’t monitor complaints on Twitter and suggests, if you want to report a short-term rental you believe is operating illegally, to call 311.

The @VISTRO11 account posts links to Airbnb postings in the city with images and addresses and tags the city.

Those behind the account say they were inspired by passionate people who came out to speak about short-term rentals to an open hearing at City Hall last week, like Rohana Rezel.

Rezel says the lack of enforcement from the city is what actually inspired a Twitter account like this.

“The city has done very little to enforce the existing laws and I have looked at some of the Freedom of Information requests that the city has received and I think that the city probably acts on one per-cent of all complaints that it receives.”

The city is trying to regulate the thousands of short-term rentals in Vancouver with new rules that insist you need a licence for a short-term rental.

Rezel calls the public hearing a “dog and pony show”.

“Under the existing laws, you can get a B&B licence and run a perfectly legal B&B, so why do you need another kind of licence? It doesn’t make any sense.”

He doesn’t get why instead of enforcing the law, the city is trying to make the illegal, legal.