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Lawsuit from man who rented Burnaby home to run Airbnb business dismissed



A man who leased a home in Burnaby specifically so he could run an Airbnb rental business there has had his lawsuit against the landlord dismissed on the grounds that he agreed to terminate his tenancy and his business was illegal in the first place.

Tong Heintz Sun filed the claim in provincial court in Vancouver against Liang Zhi Duan, her husband De Heng Luo and Green Team Realty, which helped the property owners arrange the lease.

Sun claimed those three entities should be ordered to pay for income he lost when the lease on the property ended early, as well as for the cost of furniture he purchased for the rental business and resold at a loss.

According to the decision from provincial court Judge Wilson Lee, Sun and Duan signed a residential tenancy agreement in December 2018 for the property at 8050 Kaymar Dr., “even though the property would be used for the commercial business of short-term rentals.”

Indeed, the parties also signed an addendum to the tenancy agreement stating that the tenant had a “right to operate a short term rental business” on the property.

The court decision indicates that Sun agreed to pay $3,600 per month in rent, and purchased thousands of dollars worth of beds and mattresses for the business he planned to run there.

Sun said the property had “six or seven bedrooms,” as well as “a large hall that held three king-sized beds and a downstairs hall that held two king-sized beds,” according to Lee’s decision.

Property assessment records indicate the residence has a finished basement, but list only five bedrooms in the $1.6-million home. 

Sun began listing the home on short-term rental websites, including Airbnb, in January 2019. By April, the City of Burnaby had taken notice.

A letter from the city to Luo and Duan informed them of the city’s zoning bylaw, which does not permit anything other than single-family residences in the zone where the property is located. The letter said that continued operation of a short-term rental business there would result in a $400 fine.

After the property owners received the letter, they negotiated with Sun and eventually signed a mutual agreement to end his “tenancy.”

Sun argued before the court that he signed the agreement under duress, and therefore is not bound by it and can seek compensation for the loss of income caused by the termination of the lease. The judge dismissed this notion in his decision.

“Mr. Sun is actively involved in the business of short-term rentals and gives advice to others in the same business,” Lee wrote in the decision. “He says he is studying law. It is clear to me that he is more than capable of negotiating an agreement. There is no basis to find that the mutual agreement was voidable for reasons of duress.”

Sun also disputed the City of Burnaby’s authority to issue him a fine, arguing that there was no bylaw prohibiting short-term rentals in the city.

“Having failed to find any enabling legislation, he argues that the operation of the short-term rental was legal,” Lee wrote. “An inability to locate the relevant legislation does not excuse a person from obeying the law. I was in fact able to locate the relevant bylaws with a quick search.”

The decision also notes that Sun admitted to operating his business without a business licence, which is also a violation of city bylaws.

Though not addressed by any of the defendants in their submissions to the court, the illegality of the business was also a sticking point for Lee.

“Mr. Sun’s claim is for compensation flowing from his operation of a short-term rental business that he was operating contrary to City of Burnaby bylaws,” the judge wrote. “If this court were to allow Mr. Sun’s claim, it would be sanctioning an illegal business and allowing Mr. Sun to profit from that illegal business. This court will not be used to support such a claim. Accordingly, I will also dismiss Mr. Sun’s claim for reasons of illegality.”

Lee also dismissed Sun’s claims against Luo, who was not a party to the lease agreement, and Green Team Realty, which Sun made no allegations of wrongdoing against.

He ordered Sun to pay $50 to Green Team Realty to cover the cost of filing the company’s reply to Sun’s lawsuit, as well as $500 to Luo and Duan for unnecessary expenses Sun caused them to incur. 

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Latest COVID-19 business exposures, as of Oct. 24




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The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is warning the public of potential exposures to COVID-19 on three Regina Transit bus routes and at several businesses in Regina and Saskatoon.

The alerts issued Saturday mean a person who later tested positive for COVID-19 rode the bus or visited a business while they were likely infectious.


Oct. 10:

Habano’s Martini & Cocktail Club, 2288 Dewdney Ave., from 8 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.

Oct. 15:

Stone’s Throw Café, 1101C Kramer Blvd., from 8:30 to 9 p.m.

Boston Pizza, 10-3795 Chuka Blvd., from 6 to 7 p.m.

Oct. 16:

Regina Transit bus route #10 and route #4, from 1 to 1:45 p.m.

Pennington’s, 2034 Prince of Wales Dr., from 11 to 11:20 a.m.

Brewed Awakening, 3115 Woodhams Dr., from noon to 12:15 p.m.

Home Depot North, 1030 Pasqua St. N, from 3:30 to 7:15 p.m.

Shoppers Drug Mart, 2223 Victoria Ave. E #E4, from 9 to 9:30 p.m.

Oct. 7:

Northland Confectionary Groceries, 479N Broad St., from 4 to 9 p.m.

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Four years in, Trump has plenty of unfinished business




WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump swept into office nearly four years ago as an outsider who promised to get things done quickly on behalf of the American people through sheer force of will and unrivaled knowledge about the art of the deal.

He has checked off some items on his to-do list.

Trump pushed through the most significant overhaul of the U.S. tax system since President Ronald Reagan. Trump, as he said he would, tilted the Supreme Court further to the right with confirmation of two conservative justices and likely a third, Amy Coney Barrett, in the coming days. His promise to get tough on illegal immigration has resulted in a surge in migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border.

But Trump has also faced the same hard truth that each of his White House predecessors learned: Governing is rarely easy.

A look at some of the president’s unfinished business as he asks voters for a second term in the White House:


Trump has managed to undermine President Barack Obama’s health care law, but has fallen far short of his promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

His administration has managed to dismantle parts of the law. Enrollment periods have been shortened, some subsidies were ended and the individual mandate — the fine for people without health insurance — has been eliminated.

Trump says he’s still focused on replacing the with something “much better and much less expensive.” He said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that “it will be so good” if the Supreme Court puts an end to “Obamacare” when the justices hear challenges to it next month.

The number of uninsured Americans has risen under Trump’s watch. According to Census Bureau data released last month, nearly 30 million people in the U.S. lacked coverage at some point during 2019, about 1 million more than in the previous year.



Trump has made only modest progress toward meeting his 2016 pledge to bring home all troops from what he calls America’s “endless wars.”

When Trump took over the White House, the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan stood at about 8,400, and there were about 6,800 troops in Iraq.

Within a year, the number of troops in Afghanistan climbed to about 15,000. Trump approved commanders’ requests for additional troops to reverse setbacks in the training of Afghan forces, fight an increasingly dangerous Islamic State group and put enough pressure on the Taliban to force it to the peace table.

In February, the U.S. and the Taliban signed an agreement that calls for the eventual complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

With an eye toward the election, Trump has accelerated his push to bring troops home, teasing that all U.S. troops could be out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.

Pentagon officials said the number of troops in Afghanistan will drop to 4,500 in November. But defence officials insist there are no plans to have all troops home from Afghanistan by the end of the year. U.S. officials also say there currently is no approved plan to reduce the number to 2,500 by early next year. The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

In Iraq, the number of U.S. troops has dipped from about 5,000 to roughly 3,000, although officials say the number fluctuates higher as units rotate in and out.



During his 2016 primary run, Trump sought to mark his ground as a hard-line immigration enforcer who would build “a great, great wall on our southern border.”

“And I will make Mexico pay for that wall,” Trump said as he launched his run for the White House in June 2015. “Mark my words.”

Nearly four years later, Trump still has work to do completing his wall and much that has been completed has been paid by U.S. taxpayers despite promises otherwise.

The president’s administration has promised to build 450 miles by the end of this year and has so far built 371. Trump has replaced hundreds of miles of old, worn-out barriers, meant only to stop cars, with tall, 30-foot fencing that is much harder to get over and impedes wildlife from crossing the border. Conservationists in Arizona, where a bulk of the building has taken place, say the new wall is detrimental to wildlife and the surrounding ecosystems.

Mexico has steadfastly refused to pay for the border wall, though Trump earlier this year suggested that the wall is being paid, in part, by remittances from Mexican immigrants working in the U.S.

To date, the money is coming from the U.S. Treasury, meaning today’s taxpayers and the future ones who will inherit the federal debt. To the extent any people who came into the U.S. illegally are kicking in for the wall, it’s because they’re working and paying taxes like other workers.

Trump also freed up $3.6 billion for the wall last year by diverting money from military construction projects as well as $2.5 billion from approved counterdrug spending.





Early in his presidency, Trump expressed confidence that his administration could broker a long-term peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. “We will get it done,” Trump declared in May 2017. He put his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner in charge.

Trump moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a step that was cheered by Israelis and the president’s evangelical Christian supporters in the U.S. but angered Palestinian leaders. He scored a big win in recent weeks with the U.S. nudging Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates — three Arab states — to normalize relations with Israel.

The normalization of relations between Israel and the three Arab nations is certainly an important achievement. But the agreements between nations that have never been in direct conflict don’t meaningfully move the ball in achieving the large and long elusive goal of achieving peace between Palestinians and Israelis.



The White House’s multiple attempts to designate an “infrastructure week” — each effort quickly eclipsed by other issues — have become something of a running punchline in the administration.

In his 2016 victory speech, Trump said he would rebuild the nation’s highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools and hospitals, making American infrastructure “second to none” and putting millions to work in the process.

Nearly four years later, Trump’s soaring rhetoric has failed to produce legislation.

In April 2019, Trump reached an agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to pursue a $2 trillion infrastructure plan. This March, he resurrected the idea for a “VERY BIG & BOLD” plan for infrastructure spending to help jolt the staggering economy after the coronavirus pandemic hit.

While Pelosi and Schumer again threw their support behind big infrastructure spending, Senate Republicans have bristled at deficit spending, and Trump’s sales pitch has gone nowhere with his own party.



On the debate stage four year ago, Trump said his federal income taxes were “under a routine audit” but promised they would be released as soon as the IRS finished.

Four years later, Trump says the IRS still hasn’t completed its work, and the president has yet to fulfil his promise to release his tax returns. No law prevents Trump from making his tax filings public while under audit.

Questions about Trump’s tax returns — and his broader financial situation — have only grown following revelations that he is personally liable for more than $400 million in debt. That sort of debt load, ethics experts say, raises concerns he could be manipulated to sway U.S. policy by those to whom he’s indebted.

The New York Times reported last month that Trump’s debt includes more than $300 million in loans that will come due in the next four years.

Trump dismisses his debt load as a “peanut” compared with his assets.

The president is the only post-Watergate president not to release his tax returns.


Associated Press writers Robert Burns, Hope Yen, Calvin Woodward and Astrid Galvan contributed to this report.

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How London’s top restaurants are skewering the Covid rules | Business




“A table for six? No, sir, that is against the Covid-19 restrictions … unless you promise that your party will discuss business, not pleasure.”

Some of London’s fanciest restaurants have discovered a loophole in the tier-2 coronavirus lockdowns restrictions designed to prevent households from mixing and thereby slow the spread of the virus.

An exemption that the government included in the rules to allow freelancers to work over lunch is being exploited by high-end restaurants encouraging up to 30 people to dine together as long as “the topic is business”.

Caprice Holdings, the restaurant empire run by multimillionaire Richard Caring, emailed loyal clients this week to invite them to make bookings that appear to break the single-household rule.

“We wish to make it clear – when the topic is business, you can still meet over a fabulous working lunch or dinner without the restriction of the ‘single household rule’, ie mixed households are permitted up to six guests,” the email said. “We can host up to 30 people within our private dining spaces for business meetings.”

The Cinnamon Club, popular with politicians and lobbyists due to its location near the Palace of Westminster, said: “It’s become clear that if you are coming down to our restaurants for business purposes, you can meet over lunch or dinner without the ‘single household’ restriction and this is permitted for up to six guests.”

D&D London, which owns the upmarket Quaglino’s, Coq d’Argent, the Bluebird Café and the German Gymnasium, said: “We are pleased to confirm that you can still have business meetings over lunch and dinner. Provided that the primary purpose of your booking is business, we are delighted to welcome you as usual.”

Jeremy King, co-owner of Corbin & King, which owns business crowd favourites including the Delaunay on the Strand and the Wolseley in Piccadilly, emailed favoured clients to tell them: “Whilst social occasions need to be from a single household, it has been determined that business meeting are acceptable.”

Despite restricted elevator capacity, several restaurants in the Shard and Heron towers are accepting big bookings for business lunches. Duck & Waffle, on the 40th floor of Heron Tower by Liverpool Street station, will take bookings for six for a business lunch, while Sushi Samba two floors below is happy for up to 14 people to discuss spreadsheets over lunch.

The restaurants are relying on “exception 3” in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local Covid-19 Alert Level) (Medium) Regulations 2020 Act, which states: “Exception 3 is that the gathering is reasonably necessary – a) for work purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services.”

The messages appear to have worked. Many of London’s most famous restaurants, including the Ivy, part of Caring’s empire in Soho, and Le Coq d’Argent in the City, were doing a roaring trade on Friday lunchtime.

At Sexy Fish, Caring’s latest pricey fish restaurant on Berkeley Square in Mayfair, all the tables were occupied, forcing walk-ins, like reporters from the Guardian, to dine at the bar, adorned with bronze mermaids sculptures by Damien Hirst.

Perusing the menu, which includes king crab and caviar sushi at £42 a piece which can be washed down with a £16,000 Armand de Brignac champagne, were three groups of four who did not appear to be from the same household.

A group of four ladies dining together said they were “sort of” having a business lunch as they “are ex-colleagues” catching up. Challenged further, one of the party said she was “happy to break the rules as I know I am not going to be doing anyone any harm, otherwise I wouldn’t”.

The women said they did not book, but walked into the restaurant and were not asked by the maitre d’ if they were from separate households. The restaurant manager, who asked the Guardian reporter to leave the restaurant, said he realised that the three tables of four people broke the rules.

“We alert that to every guest and we do that on confirmation email,” he said. “We do as much as we possibly can … We are doing our absolute best, we’re doing as many precautions as possible … You can’t ask me a single question.”

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There seemed to be confusion in the government about who could clarify the official position on business lunches. The Treasury suggested the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. BEIS, in turn, pointed to a higher authority.

Downing Street said most cross-household work meals were not permitted, and that they should only happen if there was no other option. But a spokesman indicated that the government was unlikely to take any action against restaurants promoting business lunches.

“We obviously encourage people to use alternatives for work meetings where possible, like Covid-secure workplaces, or through other means – virtually or on the phone,” a No 10 spokesman said. “We have set out this week why the exemption was introduced, in order to allow freelancers and others who maybe don’t have access to a Covid-secure workplace to use. But we encourage everyone to act responsibly.”

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