City launches new portal for shared accommodation hosts, who must now register with BACP to rent through services such as Airbnb – CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) – The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection launched on Tuesday a new online portal to process listings for shared accommodations such as Airbnb and HomeAway.
Under the new system, hosts of shared accommodations must submit registration requests directly to BACP and receive approval before registering their accommodations for sharing.
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“Over the past four years, we have worked tirelessly to oversee the evolution of the shared housing sector within the confines of previous regulations,” BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareño said in a press release. “This reform ordinance and the new portal will allow us to modernize the process, improve guest registration data and improve the City’s ability to empower problematic players while preserving the innovation essential to this industry.” .
In September 2020, city council passed Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Shared Housing Reform Ordinance, which aimed to increase safety and accountability. Parts of the ordinance came into effect in the fall, including the ban on overnight rentals and the strengthening of enforcement powers for the BACP.
“The colocation industry is an important part of our city, but until today we have been limited in our ability to conduct responsible operations,” Ald. Emma Mitts (37th), chair of the licensing and consumer protection committee, said in the statement. “With this new portal, Chicago can finally take the lead with strong, groundbreaking regulations that ensure safety, protect residents and keep innovation within the industry.”
Ahead of the portal’s launch, shared accommodation hosts submitted their listings directly to Airbnb, HomeAway, and other similar companies, who then submitted the information to BACP every two weeks. The result was incomplete data and a lack of credentials to support the app against problematic locations, BACP said.
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With the new rules, applicants will be required to submit information to BACP themselves and deposit a registration fee of $ 125.
Additionally, before the new rules were implemented, shared accommodation hosts were allowed to list and rent their units on services like Airbnb before getting BACP approval. This will no longer be allowed.
Also starting Tuesday, shared housing companies will pay a tiered licensing fee based on the size of their platforms. Previously there was a fixed annual fee of $ 10,000, but now middlemen with one to 499 units will only pay $ 5,000 per year, those with 500 to 999 units will pay $ 7,500 and those with 1,000 or more will pay $ 10,000.
“This portal and the recently implemented ordinance will bring much-needed changes; for too long communities have suffered from uncontrollable ‘party houses’, in my neighborhood and across town, ”Ald said. Michele Smith (43rd), co-sponsor of the reform ordinance, said in the statement. “Chicago residents will now benefit from a new system that will facilitate better monitoring of the shared housing industry and improve the quality of life throughout Chicago.”
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Chicago’s more than 6,900 shared accommodation hosts are expected to use the new portal to renew their registration once their current registration has expired.