Vacation rentals: A new method of shaking down Chicagoans


Teri Smith has invested $3.6 million over the last seven years to develop Chicago Guest House, which rents out six vacation properties in Wrigleyville and Lakeview. She believes the proposal to make Chicago the first major U.S. city to license and regulate vacation-apartment rentals is intended to "snuff out the business." (Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune / June 21, 2010)

The Chicago City Council on Wednesday is expected to approve the regulation and licensing of vacation rentals--a burgeoning market that will provide a new cash stream for city inspectors to shake down Chicagoans for bribes.

Just what Chicago needs. 
It's already got an army of city inspectors out in the field, extorting bribes for adherence to a raft of city rules, regulations and ordinances for everything from plumbing to saloon licenses. (Recall the Chicago Sun-Times wonderful investigative series The MIrage.) 
Now comes another "opportunity"--impose exorbitant license fees on folks who rent out their condo units or apartments over night or for a short period to vacationeers and others looking for something a little more comfy than a hotel room. It's been around for some time in Europe and is beginning to catch on in Chicago.
The stated reasons for the new licensing, regulation, inspection and fees seem reasonable enough: protecting both sides of the transaction from abuses by the other side. Yet....
First thought, it is one more of the continuing city efforts to nick visitors for more money to pay for the various schemes and corruption that is the hallmark of Chicago. Chicago is desperately in need of money to balance its budget.
On further reflection though, it will create just another scam for Chicago's boodlers. Inspectors finding niggling reasons squeezing a bribe out of landlords. Aldermen, hands extended, clearing the way for a license. Just think of the haul. Smell the meat a cookin'. 


Leave a comment
  • I especially liked the comment by the alderman, Brendan Reilly (42d), who said the new exorbitant fees-for-the-City program "will make it (the vacation rental unit business) lawful and legitimate for the first time in Chicago." Excuse me, but it WAS "lawful and legitimate" before the current extortion attempt. That is SO indicative of their thinking: "If we are not putting our stamp on it (for a fee), it is illegitimate." But, Alderman, everything the City touches turns to crap; its just a big, crooked system. With a completely useless legislative body larger than most countries. Sorry, this is a free country of enumerated powers to the government and all the rights reserved to the people, not some feudal medieval City-State! Oh, wait, sorry, I guess its a CLASSIC feudal medieval City-State. Too bad for the chumbalones, poor idiots.

  • These pirates could not run a lemonade stand. Working for the city I see the waste and cronyism all the time.These people waste more than you can even imagine.When all the businesses are gone and all the workers who have been taxed to death leave you can look around and see detroit.Thank you city council........

Leave a comment

  • Advertisement:
  • Advertisement:
  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Visit my new website

    I'm a freelance writer, editor and author. I can help you with a wide variety of projects. Check out my new website at

  • Subscribe to The Barbershop

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Dennis Byrne’s Facebook Fan Page

  • Like me on Facebook

  • Our National Debt

  • Twitter

  • Tags

  • Recent Comments

  • /Users/dennisby/Desktop/trailer.mp4
  • Latest on ChicagoNow

  • Advertisement: