Rahm Emanuel Threatens Airbnb Hosts with Jail Time

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Posted by Dennis Cakert on Thursday, January 21st, 2016, 3:38 PM PERMALINK

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a series of tyrannical regulations on local residents using peer to peer housing platforms such as Airbnb or VRBO. 

Alderman Joe Moore joined Mayor Emanuel, along with Alderman Ameya Pawar, in proposing the Shared Housing Ordinance. On Moore’s website, he claims “Under the proposal, hosts will be required to register their units with the city through a free and simple online process.”

But the regulations are far from free and simple: “No person shall engage in the business of short term residential rental intermediary without first having obtained a license,” which requires submitting contact information, proof of insurance, a written plan for complying with the regulations and “any other information that the commissioner may reasonably require in connection with issuance or renewal of the license.”

The licensee is then responsible for “all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations regarding collection and payment of taxes, including hotel accommodation taxes” and for any criminal activity “of the guests, or of the invitees of the guests, or to acts otherwise involving circumstances having a nexus to the operation of the short term residential rental while rented to a guest.”

Chicagoans who run afoul of the crush of proposed regulations in the 17-page document face up to six months in jail:

“In addition to any other penalty provided by law, any person who violates this section or any rule promulgated thereunder shall be subject to a fine of not less than $1,500 nor more than $3,000 for each offense, or incarceration for a period not to exceed six months, or both. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.”

Not exactly free and simple. 

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