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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 Anonymous on

Right - the existing ordinances should be refined and measurable and consistently enforced, particularly the noise related ones. Noise is referenced in 3 places in the Village Ordinances, but a measurable system including 10 minute time limit, decibel levels, noise consistent with neighbors, etc. if the ordinances were refined, the non-emergency number would have a way to establish a 3 strikes your out penalty.

Submitted by Esther Brodsky ... on

We are retired homeowners in Northeast Oak Park since 1984. Yes, the taxes are high in Oak Park, but we love the community and our neighbors, so have struggled to meet our fiscal responsibility. In the last several years, we feel the quality of life on our block has been negatively affected by an irresponsible LLC owner, who neither inhabits the home, nor to our knowledge, lives or works in Oak Park. As stated by Mark, above, we have put up with overflowing garbage on the block and in the alley, noise at all hours and police visits (wouldn't this put an undue stress on the police department?), congested parking, overflowing numbers of guests in the home,and guests to the home leaving beer cans and bottles in the alley and gathering on the block unmasked during a pandemic (many from out of state). A couple of years ago,I spoke with a guest at this facility, who said his wife was previously from Oak Park and was excited to stay here when they visited family in Illinois. He was a physician and was horrified at the condition of the home they rented. He reported that there were dirty dishes in the cabinets, sheets that didn't fit the beds, and found the home to be a generally dirty and unhealthy condition. He said they couldn't get home soon enough, and would not be staying in Oak Park again. This was embarrassing and a function of an unregulated business operating on our residential block. New neighbors who had a home built next door to the property, just moved from Oak Park. I can't say that the airbnb was the only reason, but I know they were unhappy being next door to what has been basically a party house. I welcome the Village finally regulating these properties so:
1. Permanent residents can live in peace, security, and not have their property investment negatively impacted by unnecessary noise, parking congestion, garbage not in proper receptacles, etc.
2. Village services (police, health dept. garbage and recycling) are not overwhelmed by these businesses.
3. Absent homeowners do not irresponsibly run an unregulated business on a residential neighborhood.
4.The Village can have an accurate count and mapping of where the airbnbs are located, so no area or block is saturated. At this point, they don't seem to know how many exist or where they are.
5. The reputation of Oak Park, as a desirable community in which to live, is not compromised.

We wonder how many comments resisting regulation are from airbnb owners. Many other communities, including Chicago, have regulated airbnbs. Finally Oak Park is considering doing so too. Thank you Trustees.

Submitted by James Gates on

I want to thank the village board for providing residents an opportunity to comment on a proposed short term rental ordinance. My wife, our children (now adults), and I have lived on our block since 1987. In that time, I have experienced a genuine communal sense of welcoming of new neighbors who purchased a single-family home on our block. I can honestly say that persons of demographics including race, age, creed, nationality, orientation, family size, and career have been warmly welcomed by the residents of our block. That is as it should be in a just and caring community.

Since 1987, homeowners on our block and elected village officials have understood that single family housing stock on blocks like ours and others is a key factor in leading families to choose Oak Park as a place to raise a family. Additionally, residential blocks like ours and others promote a sense of community within community, offer an invaluable fusion of diversity and unity, and provide a unique degree of safety in knowing who is among us and especially among our children.

I value economic development that understands the need for growth and a respect for the quality-of-life ethos that has made Oak Park a nationally known community for decades. I was honored to serve our village as a former two-term member of the Oak Park District 97 Elementary school board, two-term board president, and a former chair of Oak Park Intergovernmental body (IGOV). IGOV brought together the leaders of all six Oak Park taxing units. In those eight years of public service, I was privileged to serve with people who honorably served the public trust placed in them. Though economic sustainability was a shared priority, foremost in my mind and the minds of all my governmental unit colleagues was safeguarding the quality, diversity, sustainability, and safety of life in Oak Park.

The discussion regarding a proposed short-term rental ordinance is an important one. It is especially important because the current village board did not inherit a well-defined and legally enforceable short-term rental ordinance. However, any short-term rental ordinance that does not respect the long-held priority on the quality and safety of life in Oak Park is not in the best short- or long- term interests of our village. In that light, I propose that prior to any vote on a short-term rental ordinance, the village board discuss at multiple open board meetings and seek extensive community engagement focused on the following:
- A thorough investigation of in-Illinois and national communities who have extended experience with short-term rental ordinances. This examination would underpin an Oak Park ordinance informed by best practices and practices to avoid.
- Zoning that prohibits short term rentals on any block where homes were built as single-family residences.
- Zoning that considers a block / area for short term rentals that include properties built as multi-family residences.
- Zoning a block / area with multi-family residences as a short- term rental zone should be informed by the support of at least 50% of the owners of those residences. That seems logical in that the village of Oak Park requires approval of 50% of block residents to hold a yard sale or block party.
- The creation of a special police, civilian, or hybrid unit with defined powers and authorities to oversee, respond to, and adjudicate complaints relating to a short-term rental in an area zoned for short term rentals. This additional oversight should not be delegated to the Oak Park Police Department.
- Intergovernmental discussions that create mechanisms / interventions for residents in areas zoned solely for single-family residences that include direct support contacts when a family / individual evidences a medical emergency occurs that require them to temporarily leave their residence. However, those mechanisms / interventions would not controvert existing single-family housing zoning ordinances.
- In compliance with local, state, and federal laws, property owners of a residence in an area zoned for short-term rentals who wish to use their home for that purpose would be required to:
- Complete and acquire a specific license to operate as a short-term rental business.
- Present evidence of an on-going subscription to a service, such as a service provided by Airbnb, which conducts background checks on United States-based guests and hosts. These background checks are performed through public state databases and county criminal records, as well as state and national sex offender registries for criminal convictions and sex offender registrations.
- Comply with maximum occupancy limits in line with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development 's Fair Housing Act. That act indicates short- term rental occupancy should not exceed a limit of two people per bedroom in rental units.
- Pay a substantive annual permit fee and per rental day fee that, at minimum, offsets additional village expenses such as the special short term rental supervisory force, criminal background checks, additional overnight parking enforcement, and enforcement of a fine structure for owners to share with short term renters prior to offering a rental contract. Note: Consequences for renters who commit criminal offenses already exist.
- Present proof of a minimum $1,000,000 liability insurance for any owner using their residence as a short-term rental location.
- Require a minimum of 72 hour stay for any short-term rental

I was born in Oak Park, but I grew up in another nearby community. As an adult, I bought my first home, a single-family residence, in south Oak Park because I believed Oak Park to be a diverse place to raise a family in safety and a place where our family could do more than own property. In Oak Park, we could become part of the fabric of the community. As I approach age 70, those beliefs continue, and they underpin my position regarding a proposed a short-term rental ordinance.

Sincerely,
Jim Gates
939 North Marion

Submitted by Barbara Hunt on

Over the course of several years, our neighborhood has been dealing with many issues related to a house listed for short-term rental. Issues include garbage overflowing and being tossed around garbage cans, large groups of people gathering in and around the house, and loud music and conversation.

I have used AirBnb rentals and find them a good alternative to hotels. I have always been hosted by individuals who are responsive and provide a good experience.

Unfortunately, the house is question is hosted by someone not living on/near the house. There seems to be little or no control over the house and what is happening inside.

I feel hosts need to assume appropriate responsibility for the house and those staying there. They should make a greater effort to be better neighbors. Those of us who have lived in our homes before Airbnbs became popular should be respected so that our neighborhoods can continue to be places in which we want to live.

Perhaps increasing fees for hosts may not be the answer. Perhaps the village should track viable complaints against the home owners/hosts. At some point, enough should be enough. The rights of many residents in the neighborhoods should outweigh those of an individual home owner.

Submitted by Makesha Flourno... on

As the owner of two Airbnb properties in Oak Park, I’m personally concerned about the overly burdensome and costly requirements drafted in this ordinance. I’m concerned that we have real issues impacting renters, real issues of equity to deal with, and real budgetary constraints that need the Village staff's focus and attention.

To start, living in this community is difficult enough and those of us that are everyday residents will be impacted by a change like this. Taxes are already excruciatingly high and maintenance can make things that much more difficult. When I started down my Airbnb journey, I’d already been living in Oak Park for 18 years (5 years ago), stopped working and had recently been separated from my husband. Airbnb afforded me the opportunity to continue living in this community. Fast forward 5 years later and I’ve had over 300 guests served in my two spaces. So, I believe that I’ve earned the right to have a voice here.

According to AirDNA, a STR national public database, there are 138 active rental properties in Oak Park. The majority use the Airbnb platform (77%) while 6% use VRBO and the remaining 17% use both systems.

Since Q2 of 2018, there are only 2 more STR properties in Oak Park today than there were then. At our height in Q2 2019, there were 222 active spaces in Oak Park.

These units receive an average overall guest rating of 4.61 stars (out of 5); 80% of which have been rated at least 4.5 overall. Airbbnb rates these properties on the following attributes; listing accuracy (4.73), value for money (4.66), location (4.81), host communication (4.78), cleanliness (4.67), and ease of check in (4.81).

46% of these properties have moderate to strict cancellation policies, meaning that guests stick and they have good intentions of staying. A third of the guests (32%) stay for 3 or more nights and another third (36%) stay at least 2 nights.

In my personal experience my units see a lot of grandma and grandpas, relatives, and are oftentimes occupied by Oak Park residents themselves; they’re either doing a renovation, need a work space, or are simply taking a weekend away. The remaining folks are visitors. They’re here for high school and college graduations, visitors of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, or they are simply here to visit our beautiful community.

Our Oak Park Airbnbs are highly maintained and the rating system structure ensures that we are held accountable. If our units are not at a high standard, they simply won’t be booked and our ratings will reflect poor conditions. We are simply too sought after of a community for our Airbnb spaces to be anything other than great places to stay.

I've hosted several hundred guests - my personal rating is 4.9 stars in both of my spaces. My guests bring sales revenue to our Village’s businesses and tax revenue to our Village’s bottom line. My guests and the guests of my fellow Oak Park hosts stimulate tourism and revenue for our Village.

This ordinance unfairly penalizes and overly burdens hosts that are clearly already doing the things. The inspections, penalties, and process is arbitrary and seem unnecessary...they also come at a cost. To productive hosts, to our current residents, to our small businesses, and to our Village funds that need the revenue support. It also comes at an expense to our Village that no one seems to be focusing on here -- so how much will this proposed Ordinance cost our village in additional Village OpEx? And is the juice really worth the squeeze that you’ll be putting on hosts that are also neighbors and community members.

Finally, let's call a thing a thing… why is our Village leadership allowing Village staff and resources to be manipulated and baited by certain non-community members to focus on non-issues that are not paramount to the Village’s imperatives?

Submitted by Karen Walsh on

I also live in NE Oak Park 3 doors south of an Air BnB. From reading all comments listed
above, it is obvious all Air BnB rentals in OakPark are not alike. It is very different to host renters in your home or owner occupied building on site than it is to rent out a whole house than to numbers of 23 or 15-18 people at once, having loud parties, leaving trash on the
premises and in overflowing garbages cans littering the alley. Who among the above commenters would tolerate this in their home, let alone their neighborhood? Another example- one weekday night there was a very large group of people in the house. Later in the evening I saw 2 fire engines/ambulances and several police cars showed up in front of
the Air BnB house. I never found out what happened because
decided it was safer for me to go back into my house. I think the very important part of the ordinance is to limit the occupancy rate. The A BnB situatuion on our block needs to be eliminated as is or at the very least be more strictly regulated and consistently monitored. Finally, it should also be noted in this time of Covid that many other people going in and out of thathouse whether in large numbers or not did not wear masks. Our neighbors are very careful about this and should not have to tolerate the above behavior to make sure that this investment turns a profit to the owner who does not live in Oak Park. This is not a one time situation and I hope the new regulations are not a sloppy one size fits all for Air BnBs in Oak Park.

Submitted by Makesha Flourno... on

As the owner of two Airbnb properties in Oak Park, I’m personally concerned about the overly burdensome and costly requirements drafted in this ordinance. I’m concerned that we have real issues impacting renters, real issues of equity to deal with, and real budgetary constraints that need the Village staff's focus and attention.

To start, living in this community is difficult enough and those of us that are everyday residents will be impacted by a change like this. Taxes are already excruciatingly high and maintenance can make things that much more difficult. When I started down my Airbnb journey, I’d already been living in Oak Park for 18 years (5 years ago), stopped working and had recently been separated from my husband. Airbnb afforded me the opportunity to continue living in this community. Fast forward 5 years later and I’ve had over 300 guests served in my two spaces. So, I believe that I’ve earned the right to have a voice here.

According to AirDNA, a STR national public database, there are 138 active rental properties in Oak Park. The majority use the Airbnb platform (77%) while 6% use VRBO and the remaining 17% use both systems.

Since Q2 of 2018, there are only 2 more STR properties in Oak Park today than there were then. At our height in Q2 2019, there were 222 active spaces in Oak Park.

These units receive an average overall guest rating of 4.61 stars (out of 5); 80% of which have been rated at least 4.5 overall. Airbbnb rates these properties on the following attributes; listing accuracy (4.73), value for money (4.66), location (4.81), host communication (4.78), cleanliness (4.67), and ease of check in (4.81).

46% of these properties have moderate to strict cancellation policies, meaning that guests stick and they have good intentions of staying. A third of the guests (32%) stay for 3 or more nights and another third (36%) stay at least 2 nights.

In my personal experience my units see a lot of grandma and grandpas, relatives, and are oftentimes occupied by Oak Park residents themselves; they’re either doing a renovation, need a work space, or are simply taking a weekend away. The remaining folks are visitors. They’re here for high school and college graduations, visitors of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, or they are simply here to visit our beautiful community.

Our Oak Park Airbnbs are highly maintained and the rating system structure ensures that we are held accountable. If our units are not at a high standard, they simply won’t be booked and our ratings will reflect poor conditions. We are simply too sought after of a community for our Airbnb spaces to be anything other than great places to stay.

I've hosted several hundred guests - my personal rating is 4.9 stars in both of my spaces. My guests bring sales revenue to our Village’s businesses and tax revenue to our Village’s bottom line. My guests and the guests of my fellow Oak Park hosts stimulate tourism and revenue for our Village.

This ordinance unfairly penalizes and overly burdens hosts that are clearly already doing the things. The inspections, penalties, and process is arbitrary and seem unnecessary...they also come at a cost. To productive hosts, to our current residents, to our small businesses, and to our Village funds that need the revenue support. It also comes at an expense to our Village that no one seems to be focusing on here -- so how much will this proposed Ordinance cost our village in additional Village OpEx? And is the juice really worth the squeeze that you’ll be putting on hosts that are also neighbors and community members.

Finally, let's call a thing a thing… why is our Village leadership allowing Village staff and resources to be manipulated and baited by certain non-community members to focus on non-issues that are not paramount to the Village’s imperatives?

Submitted by Margaret Flynn on

If you want to rent out your spare room for a few weeks during the summer months (to help you pay your huge property tax bill for example) or if you are taking a once-in a lifetime semester sabbatical and want to rent your home during that time, you are subject to these same restrictions? This will make home ownership in Oak Park less attractive.

Submitted by John Meade on

Airbnbs make really bad neighbors and I should know since I live near one. They are basically hotels without the costs of security, parking, liability or cleanup. They make the owners a lot of money while trashing the neighborhood. They are great for the owners, terrible for the neighbors. That’s the reality of short-term rentals.

Submitted by Camile Lindsay Kumi on

My husband and I oppose this ordinance. It will deter residents from operating Short-Term Rentals (STRs) which will adversely impact tourism in Oak Park and negatively impact residents who are in need of short-term housing options. It will also make it more difficult for STR owners to afford to stay in Oak Park.

My family is on the verge of starting a STR on the Airbnb platform. We are interested in pursuing the STR option because it will allow us to provide temporary housing to Oak Park visitors and in the off time house our friends and families when they visit from outside of the country and other states. However, if this ordinance passes it is likely that we will forego the STR option and instead our garden apartment will remain vacant in between having our friends and family members visit Oak Park.

It is not clear what Oak Park is hoping to gain by passing this ordinance. Oak Park STR owners already pay exorbitant property taxes. My family pays more than $17,000 a year. In addition to that, 4% of the nightly Airbnb rate goes to Oak Park.

STR owners have a personal stake in ensuring that our properties are well-maintained and that our guests are law-abiding. If they are not, we risk having our ratings lowered, upsetting our neighbors, and having to pay to repair damage done by our guests. The vast majority of the STRs in Oak Park have extremely high ratings, according to Airbnb the average rating in Oak Park is 4.61%. Owners have that rating because they take great care of their properties without village intervention, and they vet potential guests.

The sad reality is that there is no license and no amount of village oversight that is going to prevent sometimes unfortunate situations from occurring. A license will not deter unsavory individuals from attempting to rent our places and it will not cause them to take better care of our places. Instead, it will cause us to stop running STRs which will impact tourism in the village and create a hardship for existing families that find themselves in need of short-term housing.

Regarding the argument that rental units or long-term rentals (LTRs) are being taken off the market to accommodate STRs, I would like to see the data supporting that. According to Airbnb data, there are currently only 138 STRs in Oak Park. 138 STRs compared to the more than eight thousand rental units in Oak Park. In fact, according to the Wednesday Journal, over the last five years more than 1,000 rental units were added in Oak Park. The village should focus its attention on those rental units which account for millions of dollars rather than focusing attention on 138 STRs which if included in the rental unit count would only represent .01% of the number of units. Furthermore, there is no evidence that the 138 units were LTRs prior to becoming STRs or that they will become LTRs if their owners are no longer able to afford STRs.

I would also like to know where the funds are coming from to hire inspectors for the units. This ordinance states that owners cannot be licensed until inspectors visit their properties. This is yet another salary that Oak Park will have to pay. What happens when there is a backlog? Will owners be forced to go without needed income while waiting for inspectors to be available?

Another provision of the ordinance requires that I advertise to the entire world that I am operating an Airbnb. I am concerned about this provision. I am a former prosecutor and now I work in another field that exposes me to individuals who might wish me and my family harm. I simply cannot risk everyone knowing that they can go online and rent the STR located in my house.

I am requesting that the board reconsider what will be accomplished by implementing this ordinance. Who will it harm? It will harm homeowners and the only thing it accomplishes is forcing cash strapped residents to pay yet another fee.

Submitted by Anonymous on

It appears we are overreacting to something. Adding taxes to a community, county and state who are already over-taxed is not the answer. Additional regulations are simply a an extra burden and frustrating. How about "partnering" with those who wish to do short-term rentals as opposed to "managing, regulating or taxing" them.

Submitted by Jennifer Settle on

Short term rentals play and important role in our community and they are, most often, very good neighbors. I think we should be listening to the local short term rental owners to craft these regulations in an effective way that doesn't put additional burden/costs on them to succeed at their business. I do support the idea of a register of owners and a max. occupancy (although as a family of 5 that has used a 2-bedroom airbnb often, I think the proposed numbers may be off). Posting on exterior should be removed! And inspections only required on limited basis - perhaps for first year or after an incident is reported. There does, however, seem to be a need for more effective ways for all residents and the Village staff to address complaints that cannot be dealt with between neighbors - just as there already exists for any other property in Oak Park in regards to parking, trash, or noise concerns.

Submitted by MM on

- The $350 fee: The Village using this as a way to earn income is outrageous - especially because you are offering zero services or resources to these home owners.
- inspections? Stay out of our homes. Absolutely unacceptable. These are private residences. This is a municipality not an HOA.
- Annual License: Why? Do people that rent their homes not through these services need a license? This again seems like a gross overreach.
- Insurance requirements: These rental services have their own liability coverage. The Village has no right to require this of an individual.

In my view this entire idea is a violation of civil rights. If this goes through I would be willing to sign on to a class action lawsuit against the Village on principal alone.

Submitted by Keith Criminger on

It is our understanding that this ordinance was drafted as a reaction to an incident at a short-term rental property. This is definitely a concern and the village has every right to look into what happened. As a long time homeowner in Oak Park, I do not want to see wild parties happening on my block, especially where criminal activity occurs. It is a very serious matter. However, this Ordinance seems to be an overreaction to a single incident and is prejudicial against short term hosts. The vast majority of short term hosts operate in a very responsible manner and have had no incidents of parties or situations where the police would need to be called.

Has the Village researched police records to see how many calls they have responded to at parties at single family homes or apartment buildings where there was potentially illegal or criminal activity? We would venture to guess that the percentage of those calls are at a much higher rate than that of short-term rentals. Does the Village have data on how many incidents have happened at short term rentals in the past 10 years? If so, the information should be presented for everyone to evaluate if this ordinance is justified.

There are already law enforcement mechanisms in place to deal with the incident that occurred. It should be handled by law enforcement, not new regulations that punish all short term hosts, most of which have not had any problems at their property at all. This is an overreach of power which puts undo financial and regulatory burden on its citizens who are simply trying to supplement their income and provide quality accommodations to people visiting the area. Many of those people spend money in Oak Park at our grocery stores, restaurants, and tourist sites.

In addition, we would also like to address a couple of the specific proposed requirements in the Ordinance:

1. Payment of $350 annual fee

Do hotels and bed and breakfasts pay an annual fee? If not, then why would this cost apply just to short term rental hosts? There was already a 4% tax instituted by Oak Park for short-term rentals a few years ago. This seemed fair as it was in line with what was being taxed on bed and breakfasts and hotels. However, these new fees will tip the balance to be unfair to short term rental hosts. What is the basis for that?

2. Guest register provided to Village upon request

What is the purpose of the Village having access to the guests lists of short-term hosts? We can understand wanting to get that information if any criminal behavior has occurred after the police have had time to investigate. Does the village require this of bed and breakfasts or hotels?

If there are problems at a specific short term rental property in a neighborhood, can there be an avenue for neighbors to make a complaint? If the problem is valid, couldn’t the village provide a consequence to that particular owner? Instituting an Ordinance on all short-term hosts creates a hardship on hard-working people who are trying to provide for their families.

Submitted by T Ryan on

The big issue isn't the homeowner that occupies their home who wants to rent out a room or their home periodically. The biggest issue are absentee owners who don't live or who have never lived in the property they want to rent. For this group, renting their property is a business, not a simple homeowner looking to generate a little extra income. These are "mini-hotels" and should be treated as such with strict regulations, proper taxation and oversight. The business should post a security deposit with the village for at least a year to ensure collection of any appropriate fines. Also, for every night of rental there should be a parking pass required to be purchased. In our neighborhood, the airbnb/ VRBO renter at one home never uses the garage, they always park in the front sometimes with 3, 4 or 5 vehicles. Unless controlled, some of these rentals will diminish the overall quality of life for the homeowners and renters who pay all the property taxes to live in Oak Park. Perhaps the neighbors should have a say in properties proposing to offer short term rental just like new proposed businesses post for public comment. If I wanted to live next to a hotel, I would have made that choice but I didn't. Thank you.

Submitted by London Black on

I believe this is an overreaction to one negative event.

Submitted by Mark Paulsen on

What is this "thing" that another commenter refers to? To me, it is a "discussion not relevant to the topic" as the Rules about Commenting require. At best it is vague, conspiratorial, and demeaning to the other commenters (and Zoom meeting participants) and should not be permitted on this forum. "Allowing Village staff and resources to be manipulated and baited by certain non-community members to focus on non-issues"? What's that all about? If one has an issue, elucidate it specifically please. Doing less is a disservice to our community.
I am a community member. The Air BnB / Short-Term-Rental issues are real. Air BnB itself is certainly a "non-community" participant.

Submitted by Connie on

Small business owners can barely stay in business in the Village of Oak Park. You can see the evidence from the many boarded up shops all over this village. People who patronize Airbnb tend to be the type of people who do not want to stay in a large hotel chain.. and they are the kind of people who in my opinion patronize our local restaurants and walk around and go to our small boutiques. Now you want to create a lot of unnecessary inspections and rules to discourage these cottage businesses.. This is exactly why people are sick and tired of this Village. You allow large high rises and simultaneously go after Airbnb. If you want to make life better for someone why not create rules for long term tenants that are being abused by large holders of many apartment units. They are discriminating against renters and so on. Despite the fact that there are laws against it the village does absolutely nothing. I’ve seen it first hand myself. This is nothing but a bully ordinance going after the small business owners. Shame on The Village Board. I am quite frankly angry that this has been brought to the village. I see this as an equity issue and that ultimately the village is going after the little fish because they don’t have the courage to go after the big fish. If you want to do something meaningful support the Airbnb hosts and encourage them to participate in something voluntary. Otherwise stop creating rules that will only hurt law abiding citizens. This will do nothing to stop the occasional bad host. Use your resources and go after the real problem people in this village. The large owners of many apartment units abusing renters. If we allow this our Village becomes a police state.

Submitted by Anonymous on

On the other hand, shouldn’t homeowners rights to peace in their own home be protected. Consistent enforcement of revamped ordinances is the key. There can be a balance to protect both sides.

Submitted by Terry Mueller on

There are a total of 29 AirBNB and VRBO properties in Oak Park NOT 300. I simply went on the websites and checked. There is no need for a big study on this. 29 properties would generate an annual revenue of $16,100, virtually making this program an expense, a money losing venture, that will cost more to administer than the income generated by the program. If there are 'party' houses we have laws in place to address these issues. I rented out a room on AirBNB a while back and it simply wasn't worth it. There weren't a zillion tourists clamoring to stay here. Please keep in mind that most people who rent a room on these platforms do so, not because the WANT to, but most likely because they HAVE to. Please reconsider this proposed ordinance that will cost more than it will generate. This isn't that big of a problem and will harm those who are trying to get by.

Submitted by Anonymous on

In addition to the air bnb ordinance, the noise ordinances should be revamped to be more measurable- place a 10 minute limit, hours, consistancy (shouldn’t matter if day or night), # of direct residential neighbors, decibel levels, limiting air bnb and business licenses that are consistent with established neighbors. Just look at some of the neighboring villages to get better examples.
In addition, the noise ordinance should be consistently enforced. As we see more and more air bnb and businesses move into residential or residential/commercial or empty space, there are going to be many more noise issues, placing unfair advantage to homeowners who are not able to turn the noise off. Response from the non emergency number should be consistent - if a resident, air bnb guest, or business is loud, the police should ask them to turn it down - 3 strikes your out no questions.

From personal experience, the online complaint form does not work as no one from the Village responds; calling the non emergency number is against my nature, but is what is recommended by the village and the police. The resident beat office may try by talking to the parties, but does not have the authority.
community relations doesn’t work in these situations as homeowners should not need to negotiate for peace in their own homes.
We believe if the Village reviews the noise ordinance, looks inward at their enforcement of the ordinances, and the consistency with how it is enforced across all departments, this would help some of the air bnb issues.

From our own personal experience - unfortunately, we believe this line in the village ordinance is clearly one sided and doesn’t apply to residents:
The Board of Trustees finds that excessive noise endangers physical and emotional health and well-being, interferes with legitimate business and recreational activities, depresses property values,

Submitted by Anonymous on

* I think you mean unfair advantage to Airbnb guest/ commercial property. As the homeowner, you do not have the control to turn off the noise

Submitted by Jeremy Olsen on

I think short term rental regulations are necessary, and the regulations proposed are generally reasonable, given the burdens imposed on neighbors by activities of this sort. I am NOT in favor of banning or eliminating such short terms rentals (Oak Park needs more accommodations for short term guests and tourists, not less. And until some hotels open up in this town, online services will have to meet the need). I do think the license fee should be a little less, say $200.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am not an AirBNB host, but I am a small landlord. I have never done STRs.

Still, I was pretty shocked to read this oppressive ordinance. I think I pay $10 every two years for a "regular" rental license. I don't own a building with 4 or more units, so I am not subject to any inspections.

First, a $350 fee is excessive. If you want to keep track of who is doing it, how about $10 or $20/year. (It's $125 per year in Chicago.)

Second, do not do inspections. That is over the top - a waste of government services that will cost money (probably more than $350) and an intrusion on the hosts. As others have said, these platforms review properties and do a good job weeding out properties that aren't well-maintained. My guess is that an AirBNB host cares a lot more whether their unit looks nice than the landlord of a long-term rental does - we don't get reviewed several times per month. (I don't think they inspect STRs in Chicago.)

Third, these businesses already pay the 4% tax. That's enough burden to people who are trying to make a little bit of extra money to survive in Oak Park.

Fourth, the capacity restrictions are too low. People aren't using these as long-term dwelling units where these restrictions make sense. As others have said, there is no reason that a one bedroom can't accommodate 4-5 people. Our family of four has often traveled and been unable to afford a two-bedroom unit, so we have done a one bedroom and had the kids sleep on a pull-out or air mattresses. It's still far more space than a hotel room (with two queen beds or a king and a pullout). I understand we don't want parties, so maybe something like "limited to two people over five years old per bedroom, plus an additional three people over 5 years old" (seems reasonable not to count small kids that might sleep with their parents or in a crib). (In Chicago it is 125 sq.ft. of living space per person. In one of my two-bedroom apartments that would be 9 people, which is pretty generous.)

Finally, I absolutely sympathize with the homeowners that have complained about particular repeat offenders. I don't want that on my block, and neither does anyone else. But this ordinance is not going to stop that mayhem. It's simply going to be an unnecessary burden on hosts, the vast majority of whom are good hosts and good neighbors. Why can't there be $10 or $20 licensing, with no additional strings, but if there are X violations of noise or nuisance ordinances per year, the host's license is revoked for 6 months? If they continue to rent unlicensed, have a fine.

Address the actual issues people are most concerned about (partying and noise), and leave the rest of the hosts alone, or mostly alone.

VOTE NO on this oppressive ordinance. The citizens of OP do not need the government to micromanage every aspect of their lives. Address serious problems, and leave the rest alone.

Thank you for your consideration.

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