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    Chicago, Illinois

    When deciding whether to become an Airbnb host, it's important for you to understand the laws in your city. As a platform and marketplace we do not provide legal advice, but we want to provide some useful links that may help you better understand laws and regulations in Chicago, IL. This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you a good start in understanding your local laws.

    If you have additional questions, contact the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) directly or consult a local lawyer or tax professional.

    Hosting regulations

    Renting out your property for a short period in Chicago can fall under different categories, for instance:

    • Shared housing unit
    • Bed & breakfast
    • Vacation rental
    • Hotel

    For hosts of all categories the City of Chicago has licensing or registration requirements. Read more about them below.

    Shared housing unit registration

    The Shared Housing Ordinance introduced by the City of Chicago in 2016 requires hosts to register their shared housing units with the City in order to list their spaces on home sharing sites like Airbnb. In September 2020, the City approved a reform package which includes the following changes that impact hosting:

    • Hosts are required to register their shared housing units and renew directly through the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection’s Shared Housing Registration Portal, instead of on homesharing sites like Airbnb as previously required. A separate registration is necessary for each unique address that is used as a shared housing unit.
    • Hosts are required to pay a fee of $125 for each newly approved Shared Housing Registration, as well as approved annual renewals.
    • Registration applications that are pending approval or being appealed by the City of Chicago will not be able to continue hosting until they have been approved.
    • Hosts of all types of accommodations, not just shared housing units, must include their license number in their listing advertisement.

    The City provides additional information about shared housing rules in Chicago, including requirements like occupancy limits, keeping guest records, and minimum length of stays. Penalties for violations of these requirements may result in your registration number being suspended or revoked. You could also be subjected to fines. Please visit the City of Chicago’s website for more information.

    To register and/or renew your registration for a shared housing unit, follow these steps:

    Your registration will need to be renewed annually by going through the same process. If you do not renew after your registration has lapsed, you may be subject to fines, penalties, and/or removals. If your registration has been denied by the City, BACP will communicate the outcome of your application and will provide any/all appeal options. You may also visit BACP’s FAQ page or contact BACP for more information.

    Shared housing unit operators

    If you plan on listing more than one shared housing unit, the City of Chicago considers you a Shared Housing Unit Operator and requires you to obtain a special license. The application process and fees related to the Shared Housing Unit Operator License can be found here.

    Vacation rental licensing

    The City of Chicago requires a license for a “vacation rental.” Section 4-6-300 of the Municipal Code contains information regarding the licensing process and the duties of a vacation rental licensee.

    Vacation rentals may advertise or list their rentals through platforms like Airbnb, but they must register and receive approval from BACP before they can list on intermediary platforms. Hosts are required to post their property’s license number on their listing. Additional details, including fees and process information, are available at the City of Chicago’s Business Licensing Page.

    Bed & breakfast licensing

    The City of Chicago requires a license for a “bed and breakfast.” Section 4-6-290 of the Municipal Code contains information regarding the licensing process and the duties of a bed and breakfast licensee.

    Bed & breakfasts may advertise or list their rentals through platforms like Airbnb, but they must register and receive approval from BACP before they can list on intermediary platforms. Hosts are required to post their property’s license number on their listing. Additional details, including fees and process information, are available at the City of Chicago’s Business Licensing page.

    Hotel licensing

    The City of Chicago requires a license for a “hotel.” Section 4-6-180 of the Municipal Code contains information regarding the licensing process and the duties of a hotel licensee.

    Hotels may advertise or list their rentals through platforms like Airbnb, but they must register and receive approval from BACP before they can list on intermediary platforms. Hosts are required to post their property’s license number on their listing. Additional details, including fees and process information, are available at the City of Chicago’s Business Licensing page.

    Zoning ordinance

    The Chicago Zoning Ordinance regulates zoning requirements and land use in the City. You should consult the Zoning Ordinance -- and the 2016, 2017, and 2020 home sharing amendments to the Municipal Code here -- to see if your listing implicates any zoning requirements or use definitions.

    Taxes

    Chicago imposes a 4.5% Hotel Accommodations Tax, 4% Shared Housing Surcharge, and 2% Domestic Violence Surcharge on the listing price including any cleaning fee for reservations 29 nights and shorter. Airbnb collects and remits these taxes and fees in Chicago. More information is available here.

    Cook County also imposes a 1% Hotel Accommodations Tax on the listing price including any cleaning fee for reservations 29 nights and shorter.Airbnb collects and remits this tax in Cook County.

    The State of Illinois also imposes certain hotel taxes that may apply to your listing as described in this Illinois Department of Revenue publication. Airbnb collects and remits these taxes in Illinois.

    Other rules

    It's also important to understand and abide by other contracts or rules that bind you, such as leases, condo board or co-op rules, HOA rules, or rules established by tenant organizations. Please read your lease agreement and check with your landlord if applicable.

    We're committed to working with local officials to help them understand how Airbnb benefits our community. Where needed, we will continue to advocate for changes that will allow regular people to rent out their own homes. If you think your neighbor is an Airbnb host and you have a complaint, call the Chicago 24/7 hotline at (630) 541-4688.

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