CITY HALL — Lincoln Park's alderman called for more city inspectors to police Airbnb and other home-sharing firms as a new ordinance takes effect in December.
Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) railed at Business Affairs Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek on Tuesday when she said during 2017 budget hearings that three new inspector positions designated to enforce the law might not be filled until March.
"My big concern is, when this law takes effect in December, the city is not going to be prepared to enforce it," Smith said Wednesday. "It's one thing to have a new law. It's a very complicated law. And like every other law, if you don't enforce it, it's not worth the paper it's printed on."
When the new home-sharing ordinance was being debated in City Council last summer, Smith charged Lincoln Park was being "sold off bit by bit to investors" using their new purchases as rental properties through firms such as Airbnb. Smith was not appeased by the "compromise" that eventually passed, feeling it gave too much leeway to the firms and to people renting their properties for profit.
"We are trying to prevent ourselves from being overrun further," Smith said Wednesday. "We're already overrun, and we're trying to slow this down and give people control back over their own communities."
Smith said many condominium associations in her ward had already joined an opt-out list to prevent Airbnb rentals in their buildings — one of the concessions inserted into the ordinance over the summer.
Smith said she had noticed an increase in Airbnb rentals in Lincoln Park with the Cubs' playoff games, which may or may not resume this weekend at Wrigley Field.
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