Aldermen Vote To Scale Back Airbnb Regulations

Aldermen Vote To Scale Back Airbnb Regulations

CHICAGO (CBS) — A City Council panel has given preliminary approval to changes in the regulations governing Airbnb and other vacation home-sharing websites, only eight months after aldermen passed the original ordinance.

The Emanuel administration was trying to get ahead of two lawsuits challenging the home-sharing regulations approved in June 2016.

The changes approved Wednesday by the Committee on License and Consumer Protection would strip the ordinance of a requirement that people who rent out their homes or condos to provide City Hall with a guest list on demand.

Hosts would still have to maintain guests lists for three years, but the lists would only have to be turned over when there is a “proper search warrant, administrative subpoena, judicial subpoena or other lawful procedure to compel the production of records that affords the licensee an opportunity for pre-compliance review by a neutral decision maker.”

Shorge Kenneth Sato, an attorney representing Airbnb owners in one of the lawsuits against the city, said there are still objections to a provision allowing the city to require inspections at any time.

“There should be a procedure when before you send … a building inspector or a health inspector into somebody’s home, that a subpoena or some sort of pre-compliance review [be required],” Sato said.

Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), whose ward is home to more than 500 Airbnb listings, and who has called for even tighter regulation of home-sharing rentals, said the ordinance should remain in place as it is.

“You seek to have it both ways; both to enjoy the profits that come from being a member of this industry, with really not having to bear the responsibilities,” she said.

The License Committee signed off on the proposed changes to the ordinance. The full City Council could vote next week.