CAA Provisions Included in Shared Housing Ordiance; Vote Delayed Until June Meeting

Advocacy News,

CAA has been active in the discussions taking place on Mayor Emanuel’s proposed ordinance governing shared housing units.  CAA’s focus has been ensuring property owners have the ability to restrict or prohibit such short term rentals within their property if they choose.  Discussions have also sought to include an exemption for “guest suites” from both the vacation rental and shared housing unit licenses.  CAA also wanted to protect a multi-family rental building owner’s ability to allow short term rentals in their building as they so desired.  The present vacation rental law limits rental of more than 6 units in a building, regardless of the building’s size.  CAA advocated for no limit in the ordinance or if a limit was to be imposed that such limit be fair and flexible for property owners.

On May 18, a Joint Committee of Housing and License approved an ordinance to regulate shared housing and to also amending the existing vacation rental ordinance.  CAA was successful in securing amendments to the ordinance that:

  • Exempts “guest suites” from both the vacation rental and shared housing sections
  • Requires residents to obtain the property owner’s consent to be allowed to obtain a vacation rental license or register as a shared housing provider
  • Allows property owners to notify City if vacation rentals or shared housing is prohibited at a property
  • Publishes list of vacation rental licensees and shared housing registrants, so building owners can readily determine if a renter is operating without permission

 The negotiations on this ordinance were fast and furious.  CAA’s effort to keep the City from regulating the number of units in a rental building that can be used as shared housing or vacation rental ultimately did not end up the way CAA hoped.  The night before the first Joint Committee hearing, the ordinance proposed to limit the number of vacation rental and/or shared housing units in residential buildings with five or more units to 6 units or 25% of the units in the building, whichever is less.  CAA’s Mike Mini testified at the hearing that such a limit was unreasonable and that a straight percentage should be applied.  Additional efforts to amend this section were successful as an amendment was included in the ordinance to allow for an administrative adjustment to this limit by the Commissioner of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP).  CAA supported this added language.  Unfortunately, some lakefront Aldermen as well as neighborhood Aldermen were strongly opposed to granting the BACP  Commissioner such broad authority.  Just before the second Joint Committee hearing this administrative adjustment language was removed from the ordinance.

The ordinance passed the Joint Committee on a roll call of 17 – 9, but was not reported out at the full City Council meeting.  This will give CAA another opportunity to address any limits on the number of vacation rentals and/or shared housing that will be allowed in buildings with 5 or more units.  CAA appreciates all of the input members provided on this issue as it helped CAA secure the many amendments that were included.