Booking a Sonder listing on Airbnb is like stepping into a rental apartment building that may serve long-term tenants in Montreal.
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Our Bureau of Investigation spent the night of May 30-31 in Richmond, a building in Griffintown where 47 condominium units are being sublet by Sonder on three floors.
The property was booked on Airbnb. We definitely had to rent for two nights. Total cost: $460.22 The bill includes a $100 cleaning fee, GST, GST and 3.5% tax on housing.
After payment, we were redirected to the California-based company’s app to continue the process.
When the request was approved, access codes to be used to enter the building and room were sent to us.
When we arrived, we had to manually fill in the register of entrances and exits to the building.
There was only a security guard working not for Sonder but for the owner of the building.
Read the instructions sent to us “Unlike traditional hotels, many Sonders do not have front desk staff”. We can ask questions about the mobile application to Kate Ann, Sonder employee in the Philippines.
The door of each room is equipped with a touch keypad with numbers.
Inside the apartment, the apartment is approximately 550 square feet, which is a TV with Google Chromecast, washer and dryer, and a kitchen with dishwasher, oven, refrigerator, and air conditioner.
Our investigative office attempted to speak to on-site tenants and landlords to find out about their experience. However, we came across a building manager who asked us to stop questioning them.
From 43 properties to a hotel
Pierre Paul Paulin’s photo
In 2017, the City of Montreal sold a heritage building located a stone’s throw from the courtroom to Cours de Brésoles inc.
In very poor condition, the building was sold at a loss of $1.4 million, following a public call for bids.
The company initially submitted a project for 43 housing units for the city. Six months after receiving his permit, the builder amended his application to convert the building into a “hotel” of 46 apartments. It will be put up for short-term rent by Sonder – upon completion of the reconstruction.
“The project would not have been viable without the contract with Sonder,” says the head of the owner company, Alberto Bernardi. The project builds on the agreement with Sonder from the start. »
He explains that these will be luxury spaces for business travelers.
Clinic Become “Airbnb”
Pierre Paul Paulin / The magazine
In 2017, the town of Ville Mare agreed to modify the zoning of a building on Saint-Denis Street to create a medical clinic and offices.
Two months after receiving its permit, Développements Quorum Mtl entered into a lease agreement with Sonder, then asked the city to amend its permit for the development of 21 apartments.
These are now available for short-term rental, particularly on Airbnb.
Developer Quorum Mtl has not responded to an email.
A 52 the hotel ?
Jean Francois Cloutier
A lease agreement was signed at the end of 2021 by Sonder with Swatow Developments to lease four floors of Plaza Swatow in Chinatown.
The largest shareholder in Swatow is a company numbered in Quebec with shareholders in the Seychelles and the British Virgin Islands.
“There are already 51 hotels within a one kilometer radius of Chinatown. Do we really need a 52 hotel?” said Mai Qiu, a member of the Chinatown task force.
Short-term rental giant Sonder has been embroiled in numerous disputes and controversies in the United States in recent years.
In New York, a building near the New York Stock Exchange, where Sonder was subletting dozens of apartments, has been the focus of at least three lawsuits.
In April 2020, two long-time residents of the building sued the owner and Sonder over what they claimed was a nightmare caused by Sonder’s presence.
Among other things, they denounced drug smuggling and harassment in the building. They claimed “Sonder is the worst neighbor anyone could imagine”.
According to the court record, settlement discussions were taking place in November 2021.
in Boston, Boston Herald It was reported in late 2019 that Sonder had received multiple fines in connection with the short-term lease.
“These were 9 potential fines, and they were all dismissed because they were incorrectly issued to a compliant property, or to property that was not operated by Sonder. We did not have to pay any fines and our property complied with Boston laws,” the company defended itself via email.
In San Francisco, Sonder filed a lawsuit in July 2020 against a building owner to terminate their lease, citing the impact of the pandemic. An agreement was reached, but the landlord in turn sued Sonder last year because the tenant who was to leave as per the agreement was still present.
In Long Island City, Sonder was sued in August 2020 by the building’s owner for $2.5 million for breach of contract. Sonder was expected to rent an entire hotel. “We exercised a contractual right to terminate which we retained for non-compliance with the terms of the contract,” Sonder justifies.