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William Strauss' Blog

By William Strauss | Mortgage Broker
or Lender in Chicago, IL

Chicago condo 'vacation rentals' to face regulations


Houses and condominiums leased as "vacation rentals" in Chicago will now be treated like bed-and-breakfast establishments after aldermen today unanimously voted for a plan aimed at getting a handle on such leases in residential areas.
 
New short-term rental units or houses would be prohibited in unoccupied homes or condos in areas with single-family homes or small apartment buildings. Existing vacation rentals in those areas, which often are advertised online, would be allowed to continue operating.

Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, a proponent of the stricter regulations, has said it's important to set standards for the businesses, which he said have been operating like pop-up hotels across the city.

"We've got hundreds of rentals being offered, with no thought to the health, safety and welfare of those staying there," Reilly said recently. The new ordinance would require that such establishments maintain cleanliness and meet requirements for fire safety, Reilly said.

Short term rentals became a hot-button issue last fall after a DePaul University student was fatally shot at a party in a Northwest Side house that had been leased just to host the bash. Aldermen said they are getting increasing complaints from constituents fed up with vacant houses turning into nightclubs. 

If property owners in the downtown area and other parts of the city where businesses are prevalent and bigger condominium buildings are common want to rent apartments or houses to tourists and others for as little as a single day, they will need to get a special use permit from the Zoning Committee, then apply for a $500 two-year license.
 
Reilly said such rentals are now doing business completely below the radar of inspectors. The city will likely only inspect the units when they get complaints, he acknowledged, but said at least there will be a record of such set-ups and a standard they will need to meet.

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