The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 | village@oak-park.us

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Proposed Short Term Rental Ordinance

A new local ordinance to regulate short-term rentals – including those booked through Airbnb – is under consideration. Prior to any final action by the Village Board, public input is being sought.

The Village hosted two presentations via Zoom to gather community feedback on Thurs., Sept. 23:

Residents and property owners also are invited to review the proposed ordinance and provide comments, either on this page or by email to housing@oak-park.us. Comments will be part of the public record as the Village Board considers the proposed ordinance.

 

 

Comments

Submitted by Matthew Arata on

This is an overreaction to a single event. Adding taxes and regulations puts extra burden on residents and provides very little benefit. Having a license will not stop random bad actors, it will only punish residents and property owners.

Submitted by Margaret Flynn on

I listed my home on Airbnb for about a year so I could spend time with a dying relative. I could not cover my mortgage and costs (no one wants to rent in winter) but it was a big help to make up some of the money. These regulations seemed designed to eliminate Airbnb rentals in Oak Park by putting a huge cost and burden on home owners without offering any useful service. Hardship seems especially severe for homeowners who rent out on an occasional basis.

Submitted by J. Dickens on

The ordinance is good. However the definition of "Short Term Rentals" applies to 'an owner occupied . . . ." What about an owner who lives elsewhere and owns an apartment solely for AirBnB type of rental? A much larger issue than offering a room in an occupied house or apartment.

Submitted by Daniel Kirsner on

It is reasonable for short term rentals to be regulated and licensed the same way as bed and breakfasts are. Oak Park's housing stock is limited, and the use of it for housing visitors should be supervised in a consistent manner across traditional (bed and breakfast/hotel) and new (Airbnb, VRBO, etc) channels.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Agree

Submitted by Carl Urness on

Charging the same amount as bed and breakfasts is unfair for at least two reasons.

First, a bed and breakfast is a full-time business, with a primary focus on hospitality. People renting out a room to a person is not primary business income. It is an income supplement.

Second, on first impression it seems the idea to use a license and fee attributed to something similar (bed and breakfasts) should make sense. After all it is part of the name for AirBNB. Instead that demonstrates little thought was put toward this ordinance. There is much more nuance in regard to people using a service such as VRBO, AirBNB, etc. to rent out space. Homeowners are not making as much income as the village seems to think.

If there is a desire to charge a fee, at minimum it should be lower than a bed and breakfast license.

Also, the license fee should be returned to the home owner annually. There is no need for the village to pull that money from citizens. Unless there is some kind of service funded with that money. And at this time, there is no reason for the village to create a new service to regulate this industry.

Inspections in this case are at least a double tax, if not more. I say this because each home in Oak Park has to pay for an inspection when working on it. This ordinance proposes a new annual inspection will happen to review the same home. Exactly how much do you expect these rentals to change in a year? And what would be inspected? And what qualifies a person for the job of AirBNB inspector?

Inspections are unnecessary: Part of the reason AirBNB, and other similar services have success is that customers are the best regulator for it. People will provide feedback in the form of star ratings, and each rental is constantly getting rated. That is much more often than annually, more effective, and it does not cost money.

Submitted by William on

Village shall relief burdens to residents, including home owners and renters. Imposing these ordinance and fees goes to the opposite. It will also decrease property value as investors are stopped by fees and costs.

Submitted by William on

Dear Village President, Trustees, Officers,
I am shocked by this overwhelming proposal. As a general financial rule, restrictions on real estate will drag down property value. You are also resident of Oak Park and do not want to see the bad trends in this area. The proposed ordinance poses unnecessary regulations, inspections, approval, licensing, and fees to homeowners, and eventually to renters. The property tax in Oak Park is already very high. Who wants another layer of cost?
Regarding the hassles of short-term renters, they shall be welcome to the neighborhood. If any renters violate the law, they are subject to legal punishment. Banning or require additional licensing is overdone.
I sincerely hope you stop on this ordinance.

Submitted by T Schultz on

As a single mom in Oak Park, short term rental is the only way that I can afford to live in the Village. Single moms have a history of taking in borders to make ends meet. With the taxes as high as they are in OP, this is my only solution. Adding a fee, plus jumping through hoops from the Village (this won't be easy, hello work permit!), and adding in insurance (insurance rates will go up once you add short term rental which the company's already provide), and then parking permits for each guest (now I take care of it for each guest) is too much. This will hurt the poor and remove further economic diversity in this community. I implore the Village to reconsider.

Submitted by Connie on

I agree. This is an equity issue. This is a form of discrimination against middle income residents and low income residents. This is Anti American in fact. Say no to this ordinance.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hi,

Cities all over the world are supporting the future concept of Airb&b renting model. Oak Park is a futuristic city that wants to invite residents of all ages. The younger generation will not want to be living in Oak Park.

I think City should continue to allow airb&b.

Submitted by TM on

Is it a home or a business? Zoning should keep the unwanted business away from homes that prefer not to have it nearby. I think home owners on each block should have a say if they want the risks associated with this on their block. If they do, then set the rules for the business allowed. Just owning a house is not a pass to bring unwanted risks into your community. My 3cTy

Submitted by Lindsay Olson on

We have a very active Air B and B on our block. The alley trash and recycle cans are usually overflowing and open to animals so there is a large trash problem in the alley. The late night parties, high volume of people flowing in and out of the building disrupt the neighborly feeling. We essentially have a party house in the neighborhood. The property is not well maintained. The property values on the block are being compromised by visitors with no regard for our community. I'm also disturbed that Air B and B's remove 300 properties from the normal rental/sales market. If we do allow Air B and B's they should be held accountable for property standards and not be allowed to use village services without being compensated for the extra problems they cause. But honestly, I'd prefer to have a strict limit on the number of these rentals in our village or not have them at all.

Submitted by Margaret Flynn on

Addressing the first half of the post, for the situation mentioned here - loud noise, overflowing trash cans, and poor maintenance, the home owner is fully at fault and should be held to task. AirBNB host who has a poorly maintained home or who is generating complaints will not be successful.

Submitted by Mary Ann Mikelsons on

I second the complaints of Lindsay Olson. Our block has an Airbnb “party house.” It is a real detriment to our block and potentially dangerous. We even had a motorcycle “gang” stay there last summer with their bikes on the lawns of neighboring houses, noise, speeding, etc. These businesses should be regulated. Maybe what should be hammered out is what form and how expensive the regulations should be rather than whether to have any or none.

Submitted by Josh VanderBerg on

We've got a mechanism to respond to rowdy parties, and the village can work with online rental agencies to de-list repeat offenders.

The village has not shown that this is a significant problem needing new regulation, and has not shown that it has exhausted other methods of addressing the issue via existing enforcement mechanisms.

Because of this I can only assume the intent here is not to address any particular problem with short term home rental, but to instead discourage of eliminate short term home rental in oak park via onerous regulation.

Submitted by Amanda Jenkins on

I support this ordinance due to the impact of Airbnbs on rental rates and increasing gentrification, and I feel that additional regulation is needed.

Submitted by Susan Edwards on

Most residents are looking for reasonable choices in which peace and quiet are maintained in their neighborhoods. So, focusing on the amount of people renting and keeping noise to a minimum should be essential when enforcing these regulations along with safety and security for all.

Submitted by Alex Schwartz on

All of the requirements seem like reasonable ways of protecting the consumer and the neighborhood. However, the fee seems higher than necessary to manage the program, although I may be incorrect. Also, would the properties be subject to hotel taxes? Considering they are competing with hotels, this seems only fair.

Submitted by John Pullano on

I favor any proposal that will lawfully provide additional operating revenue to the Village and suppress property taxes.

Submitted by Haviva Siegel on

I do not think that this ordinance is necessary. I agree that none of this would stop a few bad incidents. And what do inspections have to do with any of this? It seems like the village wants to unnecessarily enter people's properties. All rental units already have expectations, why are these necessary to be added. Let it be treated as any other small rental owner-online video training and apply for license. Have the airbnb or whoever is doing the short term renters also fill out the "crime free addendum" which already exists. Can't owners send an individual renter this form to sign?

Submitted by Terry Mueller on

I actually went on the websites and counted the number of AirBNB and VRBO properties in Oak Park. There are a total of 29. This would generate a revenue of $16,100/year. This is absolutely absurd. There are NOT 300 properties for rent in Oak Park. The cost alone to maintain the program would be more than the program would generate. Better you should go after people with 'party houses' individually and leave everyone else alone. I had an room on AirBNB but had very few visitors and decided to stop because it just wasn't viable. Please leave these poor people alone. People rent out rooms,not because the WANT to, but most likely because they HAVE to. Go after the big violators.

Submitted by Allison on

The issues with parties at a rental space and harm/danger connected to it should be dealt with in an appropriate and legal fashion directly with the parties involved, not by creating excess and burdensome/costly parameters for homeowners to deal with. . The many visitors to Oak Park each year drive much needed tax revenue and general interest into the area. This proposal is putting an undue burden onto hosts who choose to host in Oak Park, and will push them out of the area to bordering communities. The village should be holding Airbnb accountable for vetting guests, not creating lots of red tape and costs for anyone opening their home to visitors.

Submitted by Daniel Kirsner on

It is reasonable for airbnb / other short term rentals to be taxed and regulated in the same manner as bed and breakfasts. This will also allow Oak Park to monitor how much of its housing stock is no longer being used to house permanent residents, which could be a concern.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Agree

Submitted by Derwin Pope on

Limiting visitors (to only four for example for a two bedroom) would not allow someone to have a few guests or family over for dinner etc. while visiting Oak Park. I know that's not intended, but the ordinance is currently worded that way.

Submitted by Derwin Pope on

The requirement to post a license on the front of the residence seems extreme (if the location is properly registered then all is on record) and likely to let passers-by know that a portion of the house or apartment may be intermittently vacant at times. I think this poses an unnecessary risk to the homeowner.

Submitted by Linda Small on

This ordinance says unit must be owner-occupied except when short-term rented. This is punitive for a small two flat owner who wants to rent out one unit while living in another. OWNER OCCUPANCY should NOT be required!!

Submitted by N Townsend on

I have been renting out my coachhouse problem free since 2015. I have never dealt with a gathering, rent families, travelers and many others. Why hire someone to inspect properties which have been problem free for years. Why now determining restrictions on property size? I have a one bedroom with a pull out couch for guests, I have hosted many families of 4 with kids and now that is too many? Seems like a money grab for the village. Responsible renters should not have to deal with these restrictions.

Submitted by Dominique B on

These new rules push toward discouraging short term rentals versus managing them more effectively. We have an AirBnB on our block and have had our share of issues, but these new rules are excessive and go too far for limited issues. Areas of focus should be: 1) A means for neighbors to get in contact with the owner on an issue. 2) Parking regulations whether its a pass or permit should be implemented 3) Occupancy should be limited to the excessive i.e. over 15 no matter the size.

I believe the rentals serve a need and should not be over regulated, but managed more effectively by the village.

Submitted by Alex Bartel on

If someone wants to run a bed and breakfast out of their house they should be subject to the same regulations as any other B&B or hotel including, registration, insurance, and inspections. It's common sense to require businesses to operate on a level playing field.

Submitted by TW on

We have one on our block. Driving through the trash after the weekend parties overflowing out of trash and recycling bin filled with trash. The two bedroom sized house is listed for 15 guests...we live very close to each other, the house is a mess. Big parties most weekends some Thursday to Sunday nights. I've reported to Airbnb and the village. I think the regulations might be too expensive, but they are needed.

Submitted by Susan Green on

Condominium HOA documents and apartment leases typically contain language that determines whether or not an owner or occupant can engage in short-term rentals of their unit or apartment. As it is currently written, the Village’s proposed ordinance gives permission to any condominium owner or apartment renter who wants to engage in short-term rentals if they follow the guidelines in the ordinance, regardless of any terms prohibiting such rentals in their legal HOA or apartment lease documents. Should it pass, the Village’s proposed ordinance needs to include a statement that the ordinance does not supersede the terms of existing HOA declarations and rules & regulations and/or apartment lease documents, which are legally binding on owners and renters.

Submitted by Adriana Escarpita on

I am Adriana Escarpita Mexican American, new homeowner in OP. I firmly believe providing a chance to allow for room rentals or short term rentals allows for homeowners like me to supplement the heavy taxes of this village. Living in OP has been a dream of mine since I was young. As Covid struck I was able to save money to move into this amazing area but also experienced my wedding postponed 4.times. As all of our upcoming milestones were pushed to 2021 we found Airbnb to be a great solution to earn extra cash. In my case student loans from grad school, a wedding, and furnishing our new home caused a lot of financial stress and simply Airbnb-ing our place while away for our wedding helped tremendously. In addition, it brings revenue to the village. Lastly, as a grad school student I traveled around the country to complete my clinical experiences, thanks to short term rentals I was able to find affordable room and board while studying.
If the Village of Oak Park wants to consider itself truly inclusive it needs to lend itself for opportunities like the ones I have experienced as a home owner and as a short term renter.

Submitted by Carolyn on

I use ABNB to rent out a room in my house with no kitchen facilities. This regulation seems excessive for this type of situation vs an entire house rental. Also, Bed and breakfast licensing is not a fit as there is no breakfast! Bed only! If this step is taken watch out residents with garages with living space you will be next!

Submitted by Amanda Adkison on

The inspection requirement is overly intrusive and burdensome upon homeowners. The regulations are meant to further "the interest of public health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the Village." Annual inspections by the Village Fire Department, Health Department, and/or Development Customer Services Department seem only vaguely related to that purpose. In addition, the ordinance discusses short-term rentals as offering advantages to the Village, but this inspection requirement seems to contradict that idea, as inspections are a red-tape deterrent to homeowners who wish to offer their properties as short-term rentals.

Submitted by Amanda Adkison on

The proposed guest limits do not make sense and seem arbitrary. For instance, many short-term rentals have a pull-out couch which will allow sleeping space for 2 guests in addition to the other sleeping spaces for guests in bedrooms. For instance, in a 2 bedroom short-term rental, up to 4 guests should be able to sleep in bedrooms (depending upon the size of the bedrooms/beds), and up to 2 additional guests should be able to sleep on a pull-out couch. However, the ordinance is proposing a maximum of 4 guests in a 2 bedroom home. The proposed numbers are arbitrary and do not consider that many homes in Oak Park are various sizes with different types of rooms that could comfortably and safely allow for higher guest limits.

Submitted by DV on

My partner and I Airbnbd our home during a time of financial hardship and it helped us immensely. These regulations would have made it very difficult for us to reap the benefits of Airbnb. Many people are able to afford living in OP because they do short-term rentals, please reconsider these ordinances.

Submitted by Alan Reed on

I have never rented out my house using AirBnB, but someday I may want to. Someday it might help my family pay the mortgage, insurance, maintainance/upkeep or property taxes for our home. Someday it may help us keep our house and stay in Oak Park. Please consider making it easier for Oak Park residents to do this (especially since there are few affordable hotel options nearby) rather than harder. Please consider not imposing unnecessary taxes and fees that pay for village oversight, but add no value to the homeowner. Please consider ways to keep short term rentals viable, but not a burden on the neighborhood. Please don’t do what seems to be common — charging fees, but providing no benefit. Does the village really need “a piece of the short term rental action”? You’re not a homeowners association, so stop acting like it.

Submitted by Grazyna Malanowska on

Dear Board Members,
My husband and I have been hosting guests since the beginning of Airbnb. It helps to pay the bills since we are seniors and we love meeting people from all over the worlds. The guests are mostly young who rent our room in our house because it is affordable. We are charging now $63 per night, the guests pay $80 plus because of the occupancy tax that the Village collects.
There are small Airbnb charges. The Airbnb provides an insurance already for a million dollars for unpleasant occurrences.
As hosts we clean the room and bathroom and the house, do laundry, often provide simple breakfast. There is a lot of emails to communicate with the gusts. We have to rearrange our daily routine to accommodate our guests. They come to OP to visit FLW and frequent our restaurants. They take train to Chicago. Mostly they stay for one night so it is a lot of work.
Only ignorant people try to kill Airbnb in OP. The Village should not response to a few who do not understand how the short term rental operates.
If the village will pass this ordinance, we will quit the Airbnb all together. Who is going to suffer? Only young people who can afford to travel now.

Submitted by Margaret Flynn on

I agree - and extend that local businesses will suffer. These renters are not looking for hotels or BNBs - they are students and ppl who travel on a shoestring. They will stay in Chicago instead and local businesses (restaurants, Hemingway museum, FLW lose out.

Submitted by Tom Jacobs on

If the Village board does not wish to allow for the short term rental in OP then say so. Or are you pressured by hotels and B&B in our village?

Submitted by Colin Higgins on

As someone who fell in love with Oak Park and bought a house here because we were able to stay in an Airbnb last fall and experience the neighborhood, I think the proposed ordinance is a bad idea. I think it will reduce the number of people listing on Airbnb and increase prices to offset the cost of this unnecessary regulation.

Submitted by Patrick Dailey on

1 person, 2 people ,3 people have problems. How bad? We already have enough government to handle these issues, ie. police, home inspectors (Stanna Ryan) and a whole public works department. The village board has absolutely no qualifications for any such ordinances. The board needs to address each cry baby one on one in person and then evaluate the problem. Stop wasting time pretending you are so important. Village boards have made a muck of this town for the 25 years I have lived here, I'm tired of it!

Submitted by Dwayne Smith on

I operate an Air BNB rental in Oak Park. The building is a 2 flat building and in-lieu of renting out to a single tenant I decided to try out AirBNB. It has been a great experience. While there are some cons I will focus on the pros. It allows me to open up the unit to guest from all over the world and have them experience Oak Park. It also drives new business to local establishments that I refer to through the portals and word of mouth. I do not feel that because I decided to rent out to AirBNB vs the traditional lease that I should be penalized for the decision. The village is already collecting an additional tax on the unit from the Airbnb portal with no additional service being provided to the owners. I do not understand what the ordinance achieves other than more regulation and tax on those who are tax payers and law abiding citizens. Additionally where I live and host is burdened by parking restrictions that dissuade most tenants and AirBNB guest from staying here. If anything I think there should be a special permit available to those operators and guest who are visiting our lovely village from being burdened with the possibility of being ticketed every night or from 8am to 10am. Now that is something I would pay for.

Submitted by Chris Donovan on

Zoning regulations exist for reasons, and one of them is to limit commercial uses in districts zoned strictly for residential use, and one of those limits should be for creating businesses that cater to transient clients/customers.
Chapter 8, Section 32 of the ordinance should be amended to include "proposed short-term rentals" with "Bed and Breakfast Establishments" and all the regulations of the existing Village Code. Why re-invent the wheel.

Submitted by Debbie B on

While I think it’s probably a good idea to set up a framework for an ordinance like this, it seems as if rule-following hosts are saddled with covering the costs of a very few problem guests. I don’t know if guests and Airbnb itself can be covered in the ordinance, but if another incident like the shooting happens, I hope the Village will hold Airbnb’s feet to the fire and go after the guest for damages.

A few comments about the proposed ordinance:

Payment of a $350 annual fee
A person who occasionally rents out a room in their home should pay a lesser fee than someone who has a large house dedicated to full-time rental. May I suggest: a much lower flat fee to start, then a yearly fee based on percentages.

Annual short-term rental license
Would the host also be subject to the $10 fee/three-hour seminar for all landlords?

Contact information posted in listing
I’m not sure what all this entails, but as a former Airbnb host, this is terrifying to me. Contact information should NOT be made public.

Rental periods of at least for 24 hours
There are Web sites like Peerspace that make it possible to rent a place for a few hours for business meetings, yoga classes, children’s parties, etc. Would this not be allowed?

Submitted by Mark Paulsen on

In general, I approve of the Village effort to regulate Short-Term Rentals (STR's) via ordinance. Allow me to explain why some sort of regulation is needed, by describing our own experience with an existing Air BnB on our block.
We live in Northeast Oak Park in a neighborhood that is R-4 in the Zoning Ordinance. Primarily single-family residences with an occupancy limit of 8 people. Very few exceptions for other uses. So why is it that we have to contend with what is basically an unlicensed motel (not allowed by ordinance in the first place) directly across the street from us?
The house is neither owner-occupied nor a primary residence for an owner. It is solely an investment property for an LLC absent from the premises. Not an owner-occupant trying to help with the mortgage or a way to meet people from other countries and cultures. It is a business, pure and simple. A non-responsive absentee landlord.
Over the last 3 years, we and our neighbors have had innumerable issues with the operation of this property. Citations and fines for trash overflowing from multiple garbage cans. Zoning and occupancy violations. Noise problems. Use of the premises as a birthday party or graduation venue. Just last week, my wife and I were out 4 days out of five picking up trash off of both parkways and the street because the occupants just tossed it out of the car.
Last July, we had 15 motorcyclists and 18 people stay for a long 4th of July weekend. I'm certain there are a lot of neighbors who still remember the noise and congestion for those several days. Once we had 23 people come out and get into a rental coach to go to some conference. We've often had to contend with groups of 10-16 people and the associated cars, with some occupants residing and and some just visiting. We have dozens and dozens of new "neighbors" just passing through. Light on,lights off. Car doors slamming, often late at night. Impromptu car stereo concerts that I can still hear in bed with the windows closed, even with the car windows closed. groups holding forth in conversation on the front walk late at night. We're only a bad argument away from violence one day.
Look, no one minds the real neighbor (you know, the one that lives here all the time) having the occasional kid's party, graduation, retirement, New Year's bash, or get-together, but this is just happening a lot for no other purpose than business, not normal neighborhood activity. There also have been some renters who are quiet and polite and cause no problems. But every time we think things are ok, here we go again.
We and others have called and spoken with the Village and also called police at times. There have been citations and fines. Yet the problem housing still remains. The ordinance will at least address some of the issues. Yes, there is room for adjustment and clarification, but something must be done about absent, uncaring, irresponsible investors who care nothing about my residential home. If I wanted to live in a commercial or other area in Oak Park where the uses of property are more expansive and/or permitted, I would have moved there. I didn't. My home is in this neighborhood, and I refuse to see my property values and neighborhood culture degraded by this improper business use of residential property.
We have a zoning ordinance. We have a village code. There are regulations about ownership and use of property. It's not like there an unfettered ability to use property as you see fit. Rights and liberties are tempered by the responsibilities of living in a civil society.

Sincerely- Mark Paulsen (resident owner since 1990)

Submitted by Connie on

Mark Paulsen, all of the zoning rules and other ordinances have not helped you with this problem. More ordinances is not going to help. The village needs to enforce the rules and penalize the homeowners. What you want to do is penalize me for that particular bad host.

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