July 21, 2017

VRBO operator HomeAway challenges Chicago short-term rentals rules, says favor Airbnb

Chicago Skyline
By Bert Kaufmann from Roermond, Netherlands (Chicago) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The short-term home rentals company that operates VRBO and other short-term home rentals listings sites, has sued the city of Chicago over its ordinance regulating such businesses, asserting the young policy that’s already been challenged several times in court is indecipherable to home renters and the listing services, and has the effect of favoring Airbnb, VRBO’s largest competitor.

HomeAway.com filed a complaint May 22 in federal court in Chicago, seeking an injunction against City Hall and its ordinance purporting to regulate the home-rental arrangements offered in many neighborhoods throughout Chicago. HomeAway.com named as defendants the city, Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and its commissioner, Samantha Fields. To date, the ordinance had been challenged by groups of Chicago property owners, who asserted the city’s rules violated their constitutional rights, as well as those seeking to rent homes, condominiums, apartments or rooms through Airbnb, VRBO and similar web platforms. Most recently, on April 27, a three-justice panel of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request from a group identified as Keep Chicago Livable to block City Hall from enforcing the so-called “AirBnb ordinance.”

Thus far, however, HomeAway […]

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