For Immediate Release

May 5, 2016
Julia Battista

Alderman Smith Addresses Home Sharing Ordinance
Urges Colleagues to Consider Negative Impact of Short-Term Rentals

Alderman Michele Smith says that Chicago needs a wake-up call to avoid the
headaches experienced by cities around the world due to under regulated short -term
rentals (STR), or vacation rentals, pointing out that Berlin, Germany moved this week to
stop vacation rentals from destroying the traditional rental market for residents.
Alderman Smith predicts, "We’re headed for the same problems that are surfacing
around the world if we don't get a handle on this $25B a year industry." Smith is urging
City Council not to vote at the May 18th Council meeting to allow short term rentals
without adding significant controls to a pending ordinance.
Alderman Smith believes that lax oversight, "Can lead to squeezing out traditional
renters, disrupting full-time residents, and threatening property values."
Smith says the proposed ordinance allows up to six vacation rentals in a building, but an
unlimited number on a street or block. Smith explained that in addition to Berlin, San
Francisco, New Orleans and Barcelona, as well as many cities around the globe, are
racing to enact controls on exploding Airbnb-type rentals. Some cities have taken
further steps than others when it comes to enacting stricter laws.
In London, residents can rent out their units for up to three months, but year-round
vacation rentals are prohibited. In New York, leases under 30 days are illegal, and in
Paris, owners of short term rentals must keep an equivalent long-term rental property
available. Austin, Texas has a moratorium on new non-owner vacation rentals until
2017, and is phasing out all non-owner vacation rentals by 2022.
Smith insists that the quality of life of residents must be protected, citing neighbors in
the Gold Coast who have tried for over a year to get rid of an illegal short-term rental
and complain that their block has been turned into a constant party zone.

Alderman Smith fears that the availability of Lincoln Park rentals, which currently have a
2% vacancy rate, would be further diminished by an influx of additional short-term
rentals. Citywide, the number of Airbnb listings has increased by more than 100% every
year since 2009.
"Chicago has a real opportunity to heed the lessons learned around the world and not
make the same mistakes," says Smith, who added, "to be a World Class City we need
to act like one and devise smart regulations that come with being a major tourist

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