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Airbnb Crackdown Goes Into Effect After Months Of Delays

By Heather Cherone | March 15, 2017 12:34pm | Updated on March 17, 2017 11:44am
 Wrigleyville Airbnb
Wrigleyville Airbnb
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Screenshot/Airbnb

WRIGLEYVILLE — Homeowners who use home-sharing platforms like Airbnb now have to pay an extra tax, and the number of units in buildings that can be rented out are capped, under new regulations that went into effect Wednesday.

The revenue from the 4 percent tax is expected to generate $2.5 million to $3 million that is earmarked to fight homelessness in Chicago.

The new regulations were delayed for months after they faced two legal challenges — one in state court filed by the Chicago-based Liberty Justice Center and another filed in federal court by Keep Chicago Livable, a group made up of homeowners who oppose the new rules.

RELATED: Here Are The Buildings Where Airbnb Is Banned In Chicago

In February, the City Council tweaked the law in response to the court challenge and removed a requirement that would have forced hosts to turn over the names of their guests to city officials.

Neither Valerie Landis, a board member and one of the founders of Keep Chicago Livable, nor Shorge Sato, the group's attorney, could be reached for comment Wednesday morning.

A judge denied an effort by the group to temporarily block the regulations.

Airbnb spokesman Benjamin Breit praised the implementation of the regulations.

"We have made significant investments to engineer a groundbreaking host registration system, which we believe will be a model for other cities," Breit said. "We are also proud that our guests have created a brand new revenue stream for Chicago, including critical funding to address homelessness."

Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for the city's Law Department, said the city was pleased with the judge's ruling.

“The City will begin taking steps to enforce all aspects of its home-sharing ordinance,” McCaffrey said.