New Chicago ordinance cracks down on home-sharing

Some Chicago residents could face pre-revolutionary British-styled tactics of high fines, taxation and unreasonable home searches by the government thanks to a new city ordinance signed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel earlier this month.

The 58-page decree could slap home-sharers with fines of up to $3,000 per day and home inspections without cause or warrant as often as the city of Chicago sees fit. The ordinance also forbids renting the property if it is not one’s residence and paves the way for punitive measures for noise levels above “average conversational level.”

“Chicago’s anti-home-sharing ordinance is extraordinarily restrictive and discourages people from exercising their property rights as they see fit,” said Christina Sandefur, the executive vice president for the Goldwater Institute. “The remainder of the ordinance is complex, confusing and full of unconstitutional provisions that violate homeowners’ rights.”

The Goldwater Institute has partnered with the Liberty Justice Center in Illinois to challenge the law, Sandefur said. The partners won an early victory in the case after the city agreed to eliminate the requirement that home-sharers give up their guests’ personal information upon demand to city inspectors.

However, the ordinance still levies fines against people from renting if they don’t live at the locations. Emanuel also wants to add an additional 2 percent surcharge on Airbnb and other home-sharing services to pay for a 50 percent increase in shelter capacity and support services for domestic violence, which Sandefur claims is unfair.

Photo: Chicago