Regulation Coming to Airbnb?

Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) and Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) have co-signed a letter to the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection indicating that a city that has issued that fewer than 200 vacation rental licenses for short term rentals currently features about 3,000 listings for Chicago alone.

And this is an issue. Similar to the approach taken with Uber and Lyft, the city views Airbnb as having an unfair competitive advantage to hotels. The ‘unfair’ complaint was the first step to regulate ride-sharing, and is likely to have the same result on private short-term rentals.

What impact this will have outside the city is unsure. With the rideshare services, their base of operations is in the city, and they are mobile. With Airbnb, the increase of regulation in Chicago may cause a boom in suburban offerings. Since many of the towers in the Gold Coast have been friendly to Airbnb, this is definitely a story I’ll be keeping up on.