Restraining Airbnb

Rental regulations


Short-term rental services such as Airbnb are increasingly under fire. In June, the Chicago City Council passed two regulatory measures to restrict the number of rentals that can be listed at one time in multi-unit residences, with the limits depending on the size of the building in question. Areas with single-family homes can petition to ban or restrict short-term rentals outright.

In addition, each short-term rental company will have to pay a $10,000 fee to operate in the city, as well as a $60 charge for each address listed. Chicago will also impose a 4 percent tax on every rental, with this money going to homeless services.

New York, too, wants to regulate short-term rentals more tightly. The state Senate recently passed a bill making it illegal to advertise a full apartment for rent for a period of fewer than 30 days. Short-term renting of a complete apartment was already prohibited in New York City, but this new rule bans the advertisements themselves across the state. Unsurprisingly, the hotel industry has come out in support of it.

Property owners in Chicago and New York state may nonetheless be glad they do not live in Los Angeles, where officials are trying to criminally charge someone for switching from having long-term tenants to offering short-term rentals at a four-unit building. The landlord is accused of violating city zoning, building code, and rent control laws.